Rome - Italy coach Jacques Brunel has drafted second rower Valerio Bernabo for the Azzurri's opening two Six Nations matches againt France and Scotland to cover the possible loss of Antonio Pavanello or Joshua Furno, the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) said on Tuesday.
"Bernabo has been called up while we wait on how injuries to Antonio Pavanello (right thigh strain) and Joshua Furno (right ankle) pan out and he will stay with the group," a federation statement read.
It is the first time that Italy's French coach Brunel has called on Treviso's Bernabo since the former took the reins in October 2011, though the player does have 19 caps to date following a 2004 debut.
The squad are currently preparing in Rome, where they will begin their campaign against 2011 World Cup finalists France at the Olympic Stadium on February 3 before meeting Scotland in Edinburgh on February 9.
Tommaso Benvenuti (Treviso), Tobias Botes (Treviso), Kristopher Burton (Treviso), Paolo Buso (Zebre), Gonzalo Canale (La Rochelle/FRA), Gonzalo Garcia (Zebre), Edoardo Gori (Treviso), Tommaso Iannone (Treviso), Andrea Masi (Wasps/ENG), Luke McLean (Treviso), Luciano Orquera (Zebre), Alberto Sgarbi (Treviso), Giovanbattista Venditti (Zebre)
Roberto Barbieri (Treviso), Valerio Bernabo (Treviso), Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester/ENG), Lorenzo Cittadini (Treviso), Alberto De Marchi (Treviso), Paul Derbyshire (Treviso), Simone Favaro (Treviso), Joshua Furno (Narbonne/FRA), Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso), Davide Giazzon (Zebre), Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing Metro/FRA), Francesco Minto (Treviso), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA), Antonio Pavanello (Treviso), Michele Rizzo (Treviso), Ratu Manoa Vosawai (Treviso), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso)