Italy without Parisse against Ireland in Dublin

Italy will be without injured captain Sergio Parisse but will start with a new half-back pairing of Luciano Orquera and Tito Tebaldi for Saturday’s Six Nations clash against Ireland in Dublin.

Parisse, who along with Martin Castrogiovanni picked up a record 104th cap for Italy against Scotland in Rome, is suffering from a calf injury and is just one of several third row players missing from Jacques Brunel’s squad.

“We’ve got five third row players out injured, so we have to adapt,” lamented Brunel after unveiling his team on Thursday.

Italy will also be without Mauro Bergamasco, Francesco Minto, Alessandro Zanni and Simone Favaro, meaning Paul Derbyshire is given a rare start.

Robert Barbieri takes Parisse’s place at No 8, with Joshua Furno moving back a notch to complete the third row.

The other surprise was Brunel’s decision to completely change his half-backs pairing, with fly-half Tommaso Allan and scrum-half Edoardo Gori starting on the replacements bench in place of Luciano Orquera and Tito Tebaldi respectively.

Allan, who previously played for Scotland under senior level, kicked all (13) of Italy’s first-half points in a 21-20 defeat to Scotland at the Olympic Stadium two weeks ago.

Although Brunel said his plans to give Tebaldi a start during the tournament had only been hampered by the player’s injury, he admitted Allan and Gori’s performances against the Scots were not completely satisfactory.

“We just didn’t manage things well while under pressure,” said Brunel.

“We’ve given plenty of playing time to the same (players) over three matches, now we have to give some to some others.”

After defeats to Wales and France, Italy were on the verge of claiming their maiden win of this year’s tournament against Scotland when, while leading 20-18, Duncan Weir scored a last-ditch drop for the visitors.

“We’ve taken a step backwards in terms of how we played in our two previous games,” Brunel said after the match.

“Apart from the defence, we failed in most other departments.”

Brunel maintained Thursday that Italy’s defence “can still hold its head high”.

And he ventured the Azzurri, who beat Ireland in Rome last year, “have a chance to win” — depending on which side shows up.

“There’s the Ireland that did very well against New Zealand and against England, but in last year’s tournament we beat them and we did it convincingly,” said Brunel.

“Of course it’s going to be a very difficult match, but we have to keep that in mind.”


Luke McLean; Angelo Esposito, Michele Campagnaro, Gonzalo Garcia, Leonardo Sarto; Luciano Orquera, Tito Tebaldi; Paul Derbyshire, Robert Barbieri, Joshua Furno; Marco Bortolami (capt), Quintin Geldenhuys; Martin Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Alberto De Marchi

Replacements: Davide Giazzon, Michele Rizzo, Lorenzo Cittadini, Antonio Pavanello, Manoa Vosawai, Edoardo Gori, Tommaso Allan, Andrea Masi

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