Italain injury concerns as Mallett changes five

Italy coach Nick Mallett has worries over the fitness of captain Sergio Parisse, but otherwise has picked his strongest team for the international match against Samoa on Saturday.

Parisse injured his right knee during training and will undergo an MRI scan to determine whether he will be fit for the game.

Mallett is desperate to win the match and end a 13 game run of defeats. Italy’s last win was the 13-12 victory over Argentina in June 2008.

Flanker Mauro Bergamasco, center Gonzalo Canale, scrumhalf Tito Tebaldi and wing Kaine Robertson return having been left out of the starting lineup for the 32-10 loss to South Africa in Udine last Saturday.

In the front row Leonardo Ghiraldini takes over at hooker between prop forwards Martin Castrogiovanni and Salvatore Perugini.

Against New Zealand and South Africa the scrum was Italy’s undoubted strong point and on a number of occasions the pack forced the All Blacks and Springboks front rows into conceding penalties.

Ex-Australia rugby league captain Craig Gower will hope to continue his rugby union education following mixed performances against New Zealand and South Africa.

Despite setting up Gonzalo Garcia for his try against the South Africa, he has failed to spark the backline in the way Mallett hoped, whilst his kicking both from hand and at goal has been poor.

In Udine he and fullback Luke McLean missed two penalty kicks apiece, costing Italy 12 points.

Italy Squad:


Luke McLean, Kaine Robertson, Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Mirco Bergamasco, Craig Gower, Tito Tebaldi, Sergio Parisse (captain), Mauro Bergamasco, Alessandro Zanni, Quintin Geldenhuys, Carlo Del Fava, Martin Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Salvatore Perugini.

Replacements: Fabio Ongaro, Ignacio Rouyet, Josh Sole, Simone Favaro, Simon Picone, Riccardo Bocchino, Alberto Sgarbi.

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