Geldenhuys captains Italy against Scotland

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has named South African born Quintin Geldenhuys
as captain of a team that shows several changes from the Six Nations team to
play Scotland in a World Cup warm-up game in Turin on Saturday.

Regular captain Sergio Parisse has been ruled out with flu-like symptoms so
second row forward Geldenhuys takes over the captaincy and Fiji-born Samuel
Vunisa replaces Parisse at No. 8.

Brunel made some surprise selections at centre with Tommaso Benvenuti handed
his first start in two years to partner Gonzalo Garcia, while Tommaso Allan
— a former Scotland under-21 star — taking the fly-half role and Guglielmo
Palazzani coming in at scrum half to replace suspended Edoardo Gori.

New Zealand-born Kelly Haimona, Brunel’s preferred option at fly-half last
season, has been ruled out of the World Cup after failing to recover in time
from a broken arm.

Geldenhuys, who will be partnered in the second row by Zebre teammate Valerio
Bernabo — who is making his first Azzurri start in nearly two years — now
has the job of inspiring Italy to their second successive win over the Scots
following the Azzurri’s 22-19 Six Nations win at Murrayfield earlier this year.

But with Scotland winning the three previous encounters and the last two thanks
to last-ditch efforts, Brunel has called for consistency against a side that
came close to upsetting Ireland (28-22) in last week’s World Cup warm-up in
Dublin.

“In recent seasons all our matches against Scotland have been decided
at the death, and I don’t think Saturday’s game will be any different,”
said Brunel.

“It will be difficult, it’s our first game of the season and the Scots
are coming off a good performance against Ireland – it was a game they came
close to winning.

“I think they will try to stop us building on our game, as they have done
in the past.”

Elsewhere, Brunel will send out an unprecedented first row trio of Lorenzo
Cittadini, Matias Aguero and hooker Davide Giazzon, who will make his third
start for Italy.

Veterans Martin Castrogiovanni, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Marco Bortolami and Mauro
Bergamasco — who have 398 caps between them — all start on the bench, as will
versatile full back Luke McLean.

However most of them, and several other hopefuls, will expect to be part of
Brunel’s 31-man World Cup squad when it is named on Monday.

Italy

Andrea Masi; Leonardo Sarto, Tommaso Benvenuti; Gonzalo Garcia, Giovambattista
Venditti; Tommaso Allan, Guglielmo Palazzani; Samuela Vunisa, Alessandro Zanni,
Francesco Minto; Valerio Bernabo, Quintin Geldenhuys; Lorenzo Cittadini, Davide
Giazzon, Matias Aguero

Replacements: Leonardo Ghiraldini, Michele Rizzo, Martin Castrogiovanni, Marco
Bortolami, Mauro Bergamasco, Marcello Violi, Carlo Canna, Luke McLean

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