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Italy name side to face Australia

07th November 2013 17:23

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Sergio Parisse Italy v Ireland

Captain: Sergio Parisse

Italy have announced their starting side that will face Australia in their opening clash of November, which takes place at the Stadio di Olimpico.

Number eight Sergio Parisse will captain the Azzurri while Australian-born Luke McLean starts at full-back because Andrea Masi is sidelined.

Italy's newest recruit, Tommaso Allan, meanwhile starts on the bench.

Tommaso recently hit the headlines when he opted to take up an offer to play with Italy's senior squad having played most of his international career at lower levels for Scotland.

McLean said Italy would hope to carry the confidence gleaned from last season's Six Nations campaign to Turin's Olympic Stadium.

But he also rejected suggestions it is now or never if the Azzurri want to collect another major rugby union scalp.

"Since last season our confidence has really grown," McLean told AFP, highlighting the wins over France and Ireland and losing to England by just seven points.

"It's those performances that give you confidence but we also realise that confidence can be taken away quite quickly."

McLean, however, believes Australia will be fired up.

"Sometimes it's easier when they come off wins, when they're a little over-confident," he added.

"I think they backs have their backs to the wall and there's only one way they can go, and that is forward.

"The last couple of games they have played reasonably well. They finished the rugby championships with a great victory over Argentina, and last weekend they were quite unlucky, for whatever reasons, to come away with the win in London.

"I think (criticism of) their performances have been a little bit over-exaggerated."

Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Tommaso Benevenuti, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Alberto Di Bernardo, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (capt), 7 Robert Barbieri, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Antonio Pavanello, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Joshua Furno, 21 Tobias Botes, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Tommaso Iannone.

Date: Saturday, November 9
Kick-off: 15:00 local (14:00 GMT)
Venue: Stadio di Olimpico, Turin
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite (France), John Lacey (Ireland)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

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RBS Six Nations
Saturday , March 15
Italy 11 - 52 England
Saturday , March 8
Ireland 46 - 7 Italy
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RBS Six Nations Table
PosTeamPPts
1Ireland58
2England58
3Wales56
4France56
5Scotland52
6Italy50