Bergamasco back in Italy squad

2015-01-16 08:24
Mauro Bergamasco (AFP)

Milan - Veteran Mauro Bergamasco was called up by Italy coach Jacques Brunel on Thursday to a preliminary 30-man squad for upcoming Six Nations matches with Ireland and England.

The 35-year-old missed the November internationals through injury but joins wing Giovambattista Venditti in being recalled for the clashes at home to reigning champions Ireland and away to World Cup hosts England.

Italy head into the competition looking to make amends for finishing with the wooden spoon last year, the first time the Azzurri finished last in the Six Nations since 2011.

Brunel has called up 25 of the players he used in the November test series, adding flanker Bergamasco and 24-year-old Venditti, as well as three debutants.

"Mauro Bergamasco and Venditti, who are both returning from injury lay-offs, have a wealth of experience at international level, which could prove very useful to the squad over the course of a difficult few weeks," said Brunel.

"Neither of them played in November against Samoa, Argentina or South Africa so we need to gage their readiness at the top level."

Italy claimed only one victory in their November series, a 24-13 win over Samoa, before succumbing to a narrow defeat to Argentina (20-18) and a heavier reverse to South Africa (22-6).

Italy will now head to a four-day training camp on January 25-28 with one eye on how to approach Ireland at the Stadio Olimpico on February 7 and then England at Twickenham a week later.

The camp will also give Brunel a chance to run the rule over three untried players in Zebre centre Giulio Bisegni, Zebre wing Michele Visentin and Calvisano scrumhalf Marcello Violi.

Treviso back Simone Ragusi, unused after being called up to the squad for the autumn matches, also has a chance to make his debut.

"For them it's a great opportunity to show what they can offer us in what is a World Cup year," added Brunel.

"The tournament is our last real chance to test a few of our younger players who are showing interesting things in the PRO12 (Celtic League) or, in the case of Violi, in the Italian championship."

Several players, including Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Alberto Sgarbi and Samuela Vunisa were ruled out of consideration for the squad due to injury.

Italy's 30-man squad for first two Six Nations matches:


Matias Aguero, Martin Castrogiovanni, Dario Chistolini, Alberto De Marchi, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Andrea Manici, George Biagi, Marco Bortolami, Joshua Furno, Quintin Geldenhuys, Robert Barbieri, Mauro Bergamasco, Simone Favaro, Francesco Minto, Sergio Parisse, Alessandro Zanni


Edoardo Gori, Guglielmo Palazzani, Marcello Violi, Tommaso Allan, Kelly Haimona, Giulio Bisegni, Michele Campagnaro, Andrea Masi, Luke McLean, Luca Morisi, Simone Ragusi, Leonardo Sarto, Giovambattista Venditti, Michele Visentin

Read more on:    six nations  |  rugby

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