Italy make surprise Paolo Garbisi selection call for Rugby World Cup clash with Uruguay

Colin Newboult

Star playmaker Paolo Garbisi in action for Italy in 2023.

Tommaso Allan will start at fly-half for Italy against Uruguay in their second Rugby World Cup encounter.

Allan shifts from full-back to number 10, which means that Paolo Garbisi is at centre for the game on Wednesday.

It will be the 23-year-old’s first Test start at 12, although he has done it plenty of times for club team Montpellier in the Top 14 and Champions Cup.

That also allows Ange Capuozzo to play in his best position at 15, giving the Azzurri three genuine ball players in the backline.

Another Garbisi

Kieran Crowley’s decision to move Paolo has denied fans the chance to see an all-Garbisi combination at half-back – at least from the start – with younger brother Alessandro selected at scrum-half.

Other than that tinkering, the head coach has named a close-to-full-strength side. He is taking this game very seriously, given how Los Teros performed against France last week.

Juan Ignacio Brex continues at outside centre, where he combines with Garbisi in the midfield, while Lorenzo Pani and Monty Ioane are the two wings.

Up front, it is a powerful and talented loose trio as Sebastian Negri and Lorenzo Cannone join captain Michele Lamaro in the back-row.

Cannone’s brother, Niccolo, is selected at lock alongside Federico Ruzza, with Marco Riccioni, Giacomo Nicotera and Danilo Fischetti completing the XV.

On the bench, they have gone for a 6-2 split with Luca Bigi, Federico Zani, Pietro Ceccarelli, Dino Lamb, Manuel Zuliani and Giovanni Pettinelli the forward replacements, while Alessandro Fusco and Paolo Odogwu cover the backs.

“We worked well during the week in Bourgoin. We are in a World Cup: every match has its importance, its difficulties and its history,” Crowley said.

“The preparation for the match against Uruguay was good. We will be focused on our performance.”

The team

Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Lorenzo Pani, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Paolo Garbisi, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Alessandro Garbisi, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (c), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolo Cannone, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Giacomo Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Dino Lamb, 20 Manuel Zuliani, 21 Giovanni Pettinelli, 22 Alessandro Fusco, 23 Paolo Odogwu

Date: Wednesday, September 20
Venue: Stade de Nice
Kick-off: 16:45 local (15:45 BST, 14:45 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Tom Foley (England)

READ MORE: Two Cents Rugby’s five takeaways from the second weekend of the Rugby World Cup