Planet Rugby

In search of Dominguez

31st January 2011 09:35

Share:

Luciano Orquera Italy ten

Italy: Searching for the perfect 10

The situation at number 10 for Italy is less promising than at scrum-half, and certainly there are no stand-out candidates to replace the 'smiling assassin', Diego Dominguez.

2011's crop represent only short-term answers but if Italy - like every team in the world - is really taking it 'just one game at a time', then the short-term is all that matters.

Luciano Orquera

In light of Craig Gower's injury, Luciano Orquera has been granted another stab at running the show for Italy. His first tenure came in the 2005 Six Nations but it was an unsuccessful year for Italy and Orquera suffered the perhaps unfair consequences: three years of international exile. But such is life for out-of-favour fly-halves.

Back in favour now, Orquera offers Nick Mallet the simple advantage of having a similar style of play to that of Gower's: both like to draw opponents onto them and then slip the pass away before contact- the difference being that Gower does it better. Where Orquera hangs back a touch, Gower really threatens the opponents' defensive line. So Orquera must instead trust in Canale, Masi and McLean to make the inroads and focus simply on providing them with good ball they can gallop on to. A major plus point however, is that he again represents an unknown quantity for the home unions-as it has been 6 years since he has made a start against any of them. Combine this with a box-of-tricks he's picked up playing in France and Orquera has the capacity to be an unlikely Six Nations game-changer.

Kristopher Burton

He is often held up in the Italian press as the type of ageing, journeyman import who is slowing down the growth of Italian rugby: not good enough to contribute to the national side yet so damn reliable at club level he prevents home-grown talents from gaining important game-time. This season that perception has been partly changing. Treviso's good run to eighth position in the Magners league and the six wins they have notched up in the process have no doubt coaxed this turn-around of opinion into turning around. But if Treviso are performing above themselves, it is, in part, due to the way Burton kicks his forwards into good positions, and then squeezes the best out of his limited back-line in attack. This is the task he will be asked to replicate by Nick Mallet when coming off the bench in this year's tournament. But with his penchant for a drop-goal, Burton will surely be aiming to go beyond this simple remit and get people talking about his presence in Italy for the right reasons.

Riccardo Bocchino

Slender and speedy, Bocchino will start the tournament playing in the 'A' squad for whom he'll at least get to play some rugby. Something he's done little of for his club Aironi. The New Zealander James Marshall has been blocking his way at number 10, meaning Bocchino has been limited to only 149 minutes of domestic action this season, scoring nine points. These discouraging statistics aside, Bocchino is a handy player and as the only true Italian fly-half in and around the national set-up he could be called upon sooner than he expects if the adopted Italians, Orquera and Burton, fail to cut the mustard. In such a case, the simple joy of being given a run-out could be inspiration enough to cause sides problems.

By Jack Zorab

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821