Italy head coach Kieran Crowley makes two changes for World Cup clash with Namibia

David Skippers
Dino Lamb Italy v Ireland RWC warm-up 2023 - Alamy.jpg

Dino Lamb wins lineout possession in Italy's Rugby World Cup warm-up match against Ireland in Dublin.

Italy head coach Kieran Crowley has made two changes to his starting line-up for their Rugby World Cup opener against Namibia in Saint Etienne on Saturday.

After sealing a 42-21 victory against Japan in Treviso a fortnight ago, Crowley has made a couple of alterations to his starting pack with Dino Lamb and Danilo Fischetti coming into the run-on side to replace Niccolò Cannone and Ivan Nemer at lock and loosehead prop respectively.

The rest of the side sees Tommaso Allan lining up at full-back with Monty Ioane, who scored a hat-trick of tries against Japan, and Ange Capuozzo completing the back three as the starting wingers.

Meanwhile, Juan Ignacio Brex and Luca Morisi continue as the starting midfield combination alongside Paolo Garbisi and Stephen Varney, who will be the halfback pairing.

Michele Lamaro continues as captain

In the forwards, Michele Lamaro will captain the side from the openside flank while Sebastian Negri starts on the blindside and Lorenzo Cannone gets the nod at number eight to complete the back-row.

In the second-row, Lamb is joined by Federico Ruzza while Fischetti packs down in the front-row alongside Simone Ferrari (tighthead prop) and Giacomo Nicotera (hooker).

On the bench, Epalahame Faiva, Nemer, Marco Riccioni, David Sisi and Manuel Zuliani are the forward replacements while Martin Page-Relo, Paolo Odogwu and Pierre Bruno are backline reserves.

Sixteen of the Azzurri’s players will make their Rugby World Cup debuts (10 starters and six on the bench) while Allan – who is making in his 76th Test appearance – will play in his third World Cup.

“We prepared well for this match,” said Crowley. “There is energy in the team for the World Cup debut.

“The focus will be on our performance and the next match. We work step by step showing the best version of ourselves.”

The Irishman Andrew Brace will referee the match.

The team

Italy: 15 Tommaso Allan, 14 Ange Capuozzo, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (c), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti
Replacements: 16 Epalahame Faiva, 17 Ivan Nemer, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 David Sisi, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Martin Page-Relo, 22 Paolo Odogwu, 23 Pierre Bruno

Date: Saturday, September 9
Venue: Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne
Kick-off: 13:00 local (12:00 BST, 11:00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Chris Busby (Ireland)
TMO: Joy Neville (Ireland)

READ MORE: Rugby World Cup Pool A preview: Squads, fixtures, star players and more