Planet Rugby

Preview: Canada v Italy

14th June 2012 12:14

Share:

James Pritchard Canada Italy A 2011

Canadian star: James Pritchard

Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni will captain a young Italy side in Friday's Test match against Canada in Toronto.

Last week's loss to Argentina saw the travelling Azzurri drop below Scotland in the world rankings and coach Jacques Brunel's team will be desperate to make amends against a side now ranked just one place below them.

Italy and Canada are almost neck and neck in the standings; although Canada will start as underdogs, any win would see them take the Italians' 12th place in the standings!

Italy have won the last three meetings between these sides. Canada have beaten their visitors twice before, although the Canadians' last win came in November 2000.

There are seven changes made to the Italian XV that took the field in San Juan. Italy will start two uncapped players, Aironi full-back Alberto Benettin and Treviso centre Andrea Pratichetti.

The 28-year-old Canadian-born Robert Barbieri will start in the back-row for the visitors in his 'home' town. Born to Italian parents, Barbieri first drew attention as a member of Canada's U19 team on an Italian tour, leading to an invitation for him and older brother Michael to try out with Parma.

In the absence of injured regular skipper Sergio Parisse and Marco Bortolami, who dislocated his shoulder against the Pumas, Brunel has handed the captaincy to 'Castro' in his 87th Test match.

Castrogiovanni and flanker Alessando Zanni (64 caps) are the most experienced players in the young Italian side. They total 150 of the 275 caps in the starting XV.

In an all-new front row, Michele Rizzo wins his fourth cap while young hooker Tommaso D'Apice moves up from the bench for his first Test start. Scrum-half Tito Tebaldi returns to the blue jersey almost two years since his last international appearance.

Canada have made six changes to the team that defeated the USA Eagles 28-25 last weekend in Kingston.

Four of those changes are in the pack, with hooker Mike Pletch coming in for the injured Ryan Hamilton and incumbent tighthead prop Jason Marshall returning to the starting XV.

Lock Jebb Sinclair is handed his first start since returning from a stint with the Stormers in Super Rugby and young blindside flanker Tyler Adron gets an opportunity after impressing at training. Two new wingers have been included with Phil MacKenzie and Conor Trainor coming into an otherwise unchanged backline.

Coach Kieran Crowley said that while it was good to get the win against the USA, there is plenty of room for improvement.

"We were happy with the result, but we squandered a lot of opportunities through not seeing the space and through our own mistakes," Crowley told the official Rugby Canada website

"We attacked the areas that we wanted to attack, but didn't do so well with our continuity after that.

"Italy will be a lot stronger than the USA, so we won't get away with the mistakes we made last week. Cutting out the errors in our game is the big focus for us, and if we can improve our continuity then the points will come."

Crowley added the changes weren't made to combat Italy's strengths but rather were about picking the best side available.

"The Italians have a very good scrum and very good set piece generally, and the physical battle is an area they pride themselves on. We will have to step up to try and disrupt their drive and their scrum, and focus on putting them on the ground so we can attack from there," he said.

"But our concentration is on what we can bring to the game. We can only worry about what we can control."

More than 10,000 tickets have been sold for the match in Toronto, which has a large Italian community.

Previous results:
2006: Italy won 41-6 in Fontanafredda
2004: Italy won 51-6 in L'Aquila
2003: Italy won 19-14 in Canberra
2000: Canada won 22-17 in Rovigo
1983: Italy won 37-9 in Toronto
1983: Canada won 19-13 in Burnaby Lake

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Canada: 15 James Pritchard, 14 Conor Trainor, 13 DTH Van der Merwe, 12 Mike Scholz, 11 Phil Mackenzie, 10 Matt Evans, 9 Sean White, 8 Aaron Carpenter, 7 Chauncey O'Toole, 6 Tyler Ardron, 5 Tyler Hotson, 4 Jebb Sinclair, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Mike Pletch, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tiedemann, 17 Tom Dolezel, 18 Jon Phelan, 19 Nanyak Dala, 20 Edward Fairhurst, 21 Liam Underwood, 22 Ciaran Hearn.

Italy: 15 Alberto Benettin, 14 Giovambattista Venditti, 13 Andrea Pratichetti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Tommaso Benvenuti, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Antonio Pavanello, 4 Joshua Furno, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni (c), 2 Tommaso D'Apice, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Lorenzo Romano, 18 Marco Fuser, 19 Mauro Bergamasco, 20 Edoardo Gori, 21 Riccardo Bocchino, 22 Giulio Toniolatti.

Date: Friday, June 15
Venue: BMO Field, Toronto
Kick-off: 19.00 (23.00 GMT)
Weather: 17°C. Clear skies.
Referee: Dave Pearson (England)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand vs AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Preview
Argentina vs South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Preview
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , August 23
Brive vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Toulon vs La Rochelle18:30
Montpellier vs GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Preview
Bordeaux-Begles vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Bayonne vs Oyonnax18:30
Stade Francais vs Lyon20:45
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs Montpellier20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 23
Blue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
Western Province vs Lions17:05
Sharks vs Cheetahs19:10
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs Sharks19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu vs AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Preview
Bay Of Plenty vs TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato vs Taranaki19:35
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury vs Northland19:35
Friday , August 29
Wellington vs Manawatu09:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Saturday , August 23
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 16
Australia 12 - 12 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
South Africa 13 - 6 ArgentinaSouth Africa vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 26 GrenobleClermont Auvergne vs Grenoble Report
Castres 22 - 25 Stade Francais
Toulouse 20 - 19 Oyonnax
Brive 37 - 15 La Rochelle
Montpellier 16 - 19 Racing Metro ParisMontpellier vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Bordeaux-Begles 18 - 9 Lyon
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Lions 60 - 19 Eastern Province KingsLions vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 41 - 17 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
Cheetahs 34 - 27 GriquasCheetahs vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Otago 28 - 14 North Harbour
Wellington 25 - 37 WaikatoWellington vs Waikato Report
Canterbury 48 - 9 AucklandCanterbury vs Auckland Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 15
Bayonne 15 - 29 ToulonBayonne vs Toulon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 34 - 17 PumasSharks vs Pumas Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00