Mallet hands Italian rookie Test call up

Italy coach Nick Mallett sprang a huge surprise on Thursday, picking uncapped scrum-half Edoardo Gori to face Australia in an international test match on Saturday.


The inclusion of the 20-year-old Treviso number nine was one of six changes to the side that lost 22-16 to Argentina in Verona last week.


Gori, who hails from nearby Prato, has not even played a senior match since April due to a shoulder injury that was operated on.


Back then he was playing for his local side Cavalieri Prato but transferred to Treviso in the summer, although he has yet to make his debut and hence does not even have Celtic League or European Cup experience.


It is another bold move from South African Mallett who also handed a debut to teenager Tommaso Benvenuti at right-wing against the Pumas — he keeps his place against the Wallabies.


One change was forced on Mallett as fly-half Craig Gower, a former Australian Rugby League international, was ruled out with a knee injury, his place going to Brive’s Luciano Orquera.


Gori replaces Tito Tebaldi, who doesn’t even get a place on the bench and has dropped to the Italy ‘A’ side.


Also coming in are hooker Fabio Ongaro, prop Andrea Lo Cicero, centre Alberto Sgarbi and flanker Paul Derbyshire.


Leonardo Ghiraldini and Salvatore Perugini miss out altogether while Andrea Masi and Robert Barbieri have had to settle for a place on the bench.


Italy will field one Australian-born player in full-back Luke McLean, a former Wallabies under-21 international.


Italy end their autumn series next weekend against Fiji in Modena, while Australia move on to play France.


Team (15-1):


Luke McLean; Tommaso Benvenuti, Gonzalo Canale, Alberto Sgarbi, Mirco Bergamasco; Luciano Orquera, Edoardo Gori; Sergio Parisse (capt), Alessandro Zanni, Paul Derbyshire; Quintin Geldenhuys, Carlo Del Fava; Martin Castrogiovanni, Fabio Ongaro, Andrea Lo Cicero


Replacements: Carlo Festuccia, Lorenzo Cittadini, Santiago Dellape, Robert Barbieri, Paulo Canavosio, Riccardo Bocchino, Andrea Masi

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