Conor O’Shea names 31-man Italy squad

Date published: January 9 2019

Head coach Conor O’Shea has named just one uncapped player, second-row David Sisi, in his 31-man squad for Italy’s training camp in Rome ahead of the 2019 Six Nations.

Sisi has won his first-ever call up for the Azzurri, which will gather at the Giulio Onesti Olympic Committee Preparation Centre from January 20-23.

He is just one of 10 Zebre players to make the squad, with teammates Guglielmo Palazzani, Jimmy Tuivaiti and Giulio Bisegni among those joining him for the training camp.

Flanker Maxime Mbanda, whose last appearance came in last year’s championship against Wales, also makes his return after being disrupted by injuries last season.

A strong contingent of Benetton players has also been selected by O’Shea, with Tommaso Allan, Tito Tebaldi and Ian McKinley among the 18 players to make the squad from the PRO14 side.

O’Shea said: “As ever there have been some difficult selection decisions but we are looking forward to getting the group back together and continuing to work towards not just been competitive but winning at the highest level.

“The Six Nations this year has probably never seen so many squads operating at the very highest level. We know the challenge but also know when we get our levels to where they need to be we can be more than just competitive but we need to work even harder now to ensure the big moments in these matches go our way.

“We have played and beaten teams like Fiji, Japan and Georgia over the past 18 months but have not been able to get the victory against the top tier teams that will really springboard what we are doing in Italian Rugby and also lift the confidence to go to the next level.

“We are working and will continue to work and play with an ambition to achieve the goals we all have for Italian Rugby.”

Italian squad for training camp:

FOWARDS

Simone Ferrari, Andrea Lovotti, Tiziano Pasquali, Cherif Traore, Giosuè Zilocchi, Luca Bigi, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Dean Budd, Federico Ruzza, David Sisi, Alessandro Zanni, Marco Barbini, Maxime Mbanda, Sebastian Negri, Sergio Parisse, Braam Steyn, Jimmy Tuivaiti

BACKS

Guglielmo Palazzani, Tito Tebaldi, Tommaso Allan, Carlo Canna, Ian McKinley, Giulio Bisegni, Michele Campagnaro, Tommaso Castello, Luca Morisi, Tommaso Benvenuti, Angelo Esposito, Jayden Hayward, Edoardo Padovani, Luca Sperandio