Italy make seven changes for Samoa in SA

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has made seven changes to the team that lost to South Africa for this week’s match against Samoa in Nelspruit on Saturday.

Fly-half Alberto Di Bernardo, who made his debut at 32 in a 44-10 loss to the Springboks last weekend, is among those axed with fellow Argentina-born playmaker Luciano Orquera recalled.

Also back for the Azzurri (Blues) are centres Gonzalo Canale and Gonzalo Garcia in place of Luca Morisi and Alberto Sgarbi, who do not even make the replacements list.

Another change in the backline sees Tommaso Iannone coming in on the left wing for Australia-born Luke McLean, whose consolation is a place among the eight substitutes.

Tight-head prop Martin Castrogiovanni, lock Valerio Bernabo and flank Mauro Bergamasco are promoted to the pack with Lorenzo Cittadini and Antonio Pavanello demoted to the bench and Robert Barbieri left out.

Italy, who have won one of four Tests against the Pacific islanders, must triumph at Mbombela Stadium to have any hope of a two-two finish and a place in the June 22 Pretoria final.

The Samoa match will be the first part of a double-header at the new Test venue, which was built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with South Africa and Scotland the main attraction.


Andrea Masi, Giovanbattista Venditti, Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Tommaso Iannone, Luciano Orquera, Edoardo Gori, Sergio Parisse (capt), Mauro Bergamasco, Alessandro Zanni, Marco Bortolami, Valerio Bernabo, Martin Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Alberto De Marchi

Replacements: Andrea Manici, Michele Rizzo, Lorenzo Cittadini, Antonio Pavanello, Manoa Vosawai, Tobias Botes, Alberto Di Bernardo, Luke McLean

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