Mallet trims Italian squad for Ireland

Italy coach Nick Mallett on Tuesday trimmed his squad to 24 players ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations opener against reigning champions Ireland in Dublin.

The South African had been working with a 30-man squad since Sunday but has now let lock Antonio Pavanello, back-rowers Simone Favaro and Manoa Vosawai, fly-half Andrea Marcato, and utility backs Matteo Pratichetti and Michele Sepe to join the reserves for their match against England Saxons in Rome on Sunday.

Mallett will announce his team to face Ireland on Thursday before the team flys to Dublin.

Italy’s main worry is over former Australian rugby league star Craig Gower, who is suffering from a knee injury.

The 31-year-old, who has played for Bayonne in France since switching codes and qualifies for Italy through a grandfather, did not train on Tuesday.

“Craig is still recovering and we preferred not to rush him back,” said team doctor Roberto Pozzoni.

“We can make a final decision regarding his involvement on Friday in Dublin following the last training session.”


Forwards (13): Matias Aguero (Saracens/ENG), Mauro Bergamasco (Stade Francais/FRA), Marco Bortolami (Gloucester/ENG), Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester/ENG), Lorenzo Cittadini (Treviso), Carlo Antonio Del Fava (Viadana), Paul Derbyshire (Padova), Quintin Geldenhuys (Viadana), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso, capt.), Fabio Ongaro (Saracens/ENG), Salvatore Perugini (Bayonne/FRA), Josh Sole (Viadana), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso)

Backs (11): Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Francais/FRA), Riccardo Bocchino (Rovigo), Gonzalo Canale (Clermont/FRA), Gonzalo Garcia (Treviso), Craig Gower (Bayonne/FRA), Andrea Masi (Racing Metro/FRA), Luke McLean (Treviso), Simon Picone (Treviso), Kaine Robertson (Viadana), Alberto Sgarbi (Treviso), Tito Tebaldi (Parma

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