Mallet adds three to Italy Six Nations squad

Italy coach Nick Mallett has promoted New Zealand-born flanker Josh Sole, lock Valerio Bernabo and versatile back Matteo Pratichetti to his Six Nations squad for the opening two matches against Ireland and England.


All three played in Saturday’s 45-17 defeat to England Saxons in Worcester.


However, with flanker Paul Derbyshire out of the first two tests and captain Sergio Parisse, flanker Robert Barbieri and centre Gonzalo Garcia all struggling with injuries, Mallett has decided to increase his working squad.


“We decided to increase the number of players available to us to 26 to allow the technical staff to prepare in the best way possible for the first two Six Nations matches,” said team manager Luigi Troiani.


“In the meantime we will continue to monitor the progress of the injuries to Sergio Parisse, Robert Barbieri and Gonzalo Garcia who are not yet able to train with the rest of the group.


“As for Paul Derbyshire, we decided to send him back to his club given that the muscular problem he had when he arrived at the get-together cannot be resolved in time for the first two games.”


Italy open their campaign at home to Ireland on Saturday before travelling to Twickenham to face England on February 12.


Italy finished bottom of the last Six Nations tournament, as they have done in eight out of 11 participations, with one win and four defeats.


Their overall record in the Six Nations is seven wins, one draw and 47 losses.


In November they lost test matches at home to Argentina and Australia before beating Fiji.


Squad:


Forwards


Robert Barbieri (Treviso), Valerio Bernabo (Treviso), Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester/ENG), Carlo Del Fava (Aironi), Santiago Dellape (Racing Metro/FRA), Quintin Geldenhuys (Aironi), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso), Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing Metro/FRA), Fabio Ongaro (Aironi), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA – capt), Salvatore Perugini (Aironi), Ignacio Rouyet (Treviso), Josh Sole (aironi), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso)


Backs


Tommaso Benvenuti (Treviso), Mirco Bergamasco (Racing Metro/FRA), Kristopher Burton (Treviso), Gonzalo Canale (Clermont/FRA), Pablo Canavosio (Aironi), Gonzalo Garcia (Treviso), Edoardo Gori (Treviso), Andrea Masi (Racing Metro/FRA), Luke McLean (Treviso), Luciano Orquera (Brive/FRA), Matteo Pratichetti (Aironi), Alberto Sgarbi (Treviso)

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