Six Nations: Jake Polledri and Marco Riccioni return for Italy’s clash with England

Jared Wright
Six Nations: Jake Polledri and Marco Riccioni return for Italy's clash with England

Italy head coach Kieran Crowley has made two changes to his starting line-up to face England in the Six Nations clash at Twickenham on Sunday.

Following the 29-24 defeat to France, Crowley has made just one change to his backline and another to his pack, with Jake Polledri returning via the bench.

Backline change

Ange Capuozzo retains the starting full-back jersey and is joined in the back three by the man he set up for the match-winning try against Wales during last year’s Six Nations, Edoardo Padovani, who is elevated from the bench with Pierre Bruno moving to the number 23 jersey. Tommaso Menoncello completes the back three.

The midfield remains the same, with Luca Morisi and Juan Ignacio Brex linking up in the centres. The half-backs are Stephen Varney and Tommaso Allan, with Paolo Garbisi still sidelined through injury.

The loose trio remains unchanged, with Michele Lamaro captaining the side from the openside flank with Sebastian Negri at blindside and Lorenzo Cannone at number eight.

Federico Ruzza and Niccolo’ Cannone impressed against France and start once again in the second-row, with the other change in the starting XV coming in the front-row as Marco Riccioni returns from injury.

Returning prop

The tighthead prop last played for the Azzurri in November 2021 against Argentina and returns in place of Simone Ferrari, who moves to the bench as Pietro Ceccarelli drops out of the matchday 23. Giamoco Nicotera packs down at hooker with Danilo Fischetti at loosehead prop.

Luca Bigi and Federico Zani provide further front-row cover from the bench along with Ferrari, with Edoardo Iachizzi adding lock cover.

Jake Polledri is set to earn his first Test cap since the November 2020 clash with Scotland as he is named on the bench along with Manuel Zuliani, Alessandro Fusco and Bruno.

Attention to detail

Crowley said that Italy has prepared well for the match against England and hopes that attention to detail on what went wrong in their opening Six Nations match against France will help his side on Sunday.

“We are looking forward to going to Twickenham and playing against an English team who have spent three weeks together with the new staff,” Crowley said.

“In our first game against France, we were inaccurate in the first 20 minutes, and we had moments where we didn’t play the way we wanted to.

“We have worked hard this week, and we hope that the attention to detail that was missing last week is present for this game.”

Italy: 15 Ange Capuozzo, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Juan Ignacio Brex, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Tommaso Menoncello, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Lorenzo Cannone, 7 Michele Lamaro (c), 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Niccolo’ Cannone, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Giamoco Nicotera, 1 Danilo Fischetti
Replacments: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Federico Zani, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 Edoardo Iachizzi, 20 Jake Polledri, 21 Manuel Zuliani, 22 Alessandro Fusco, 23 Pierre Bruno

Date: Sunday, February 12
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: James Doleman (NZR)
Assistant Referees: Mathieu Raynal (FFR), Tual Trainini (FFR)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (FFR)

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