Italy: Monty Ioane selected in Azzurri squad ahead of Autumn Nations Series despite Australia move

Colin Newboult

Italy have named a 35-man training squad ahead of the upcoming Autumn Nations Series, which includes Melbourne Rebels wing Monty Ioane.

The 27-year-old departed Benetton just before the start of this season to move back to Melbourne – the place of his birth – and signed for Super Rugby Pacific side the Rebels.

Mental health struggles

Ioane has struggled with his mental health, which was the reason for him returning to Australia, but he has made himself available for international duty.

He is joined in the squad by four uncapped players in what continues to be an inexperienced group.

Three of those are up front, with Gabriele Venditti, Luca Andreani and Lorenzo Cannone all yet to appear for the national team, while the fourth comes in the shape of centre Enrico Lucchin.

There is no place for former Worcester Warriors hooker Hame Faiva and recent injury-returnee Jake Polledri, while Federico Mori is another notable omission.

Head coach Kieran Crowley has plenty of work to do after the Azzurri succumbed 28-19 to Georgia in their final match of the July series.

That result followed a run of three successive victories, over Wales, Portugal and Romania.

Italy start their November campaign with a match against Samoa before they take on southern hemisphere heavyweights Australia and South Africa.

Italy’s 35-man training squad

Forwards: Pietro Ceccarelli, Simone Ferrari, Danilo Fischetti, Ivan Nemer, Ion Neculai, Luca Bigi, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Giacomo Nicotera, Niccolò Cannone, Marco Fuser, Federico Ruzza, David Sisi, Gabriele Venditti, Luca Andreani, Lorenzo Cannone, Toa Halafihi, Michele Lamaro (c), Sebastian Negri, Giovanni Pettinelli, Manuel Zuliani

Backs: Manfredi Albanese, Alessandro Fusco, Alessandro Garbisi, Stephen Varney, Tommaso Allan, Paolo Garbisi, Leonardo Marin, Juan Ignacio Brex, Enrico Lucchin, Tommaso Menoncello, Luca Morisi, Pierre Bruno, Ange Capuozzo, Montanna Ioane, Edoardo Padovani

READ MORE: Italy’s Monty Ioane signs for the Melbourne Rebels