Rome - Italy's Australian-born fly-half Kris Burton's hopes of playing in this year's World Cup suffered a massive blow on Monday as coach Nick Mallett dropped him when he reduced his squad from 43 to 36 players.
The 30-year-old was judged by many to have had a good Six Nations campaign as Mallett was forced to cope without injured first choice Craig Gower, like Burton a rugby league convert.
Mallett, who is being replaced by Frenchman Jacques Brunel after the World Cup, said that it was not necessarily the end for Burton or for experienced hooker Carlo Festuccia, as the 51-times capped Racing-Metro star was also omitted giving way to the uncapped Tommaso D’Apice.
"If it is necessary to make changes once the training camp has got under way (July 3), players like Burton or Festuccia could well be called up," said Mallett.
Mallett, who became a national hero when Italy stunned France in last season's Six Nations for their first win in the tournament over them, said that the upcoming training camp would finalise any remaining doubts over some of the players.
"This coming together will serve to lift any lingering doubts we have on some of the players," said Mallett.
Mallett, formerly coach of South Africa and Stade Francais among others, will finalise his 30-man squad for the World Cup, being hosted by New Zealand and which runs from September 9 to October 23, before the warm-up Tests against Japan on August 13 in Cesena and Scotland in Edinburgh a week later.
Italy, who have never been beyond the group stages in the World Cup, are in Group C along with two-time champions Australia, Ireland, Russia and the United States.
Forwards: Lorenzo Cittadini (Treviso), Alberto De Marchi (Aironi), Salvatore Perugini (Aironi), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso), Tommaso D’Apice (Roma), Fabio Ongaro (Aironi), Valerio Bernabo (Treviso), Joshua Furno (Aironi), Quintin Geldenhuys (Aironi), Cornelius Van Zyl (Treviso), Robert Julian Barbieri (Treviso), Mauro Bergamasco (Stade Francais/FRA), Paul Derbyshire (Treviso), Manoa Vosawai (Treviso), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso), Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester/ENG), Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing-Metro/FRA), Marco Bortolami (Aironi), Carlo Antonio Del Fava (Aironi), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA)
Backs: Pablo Canavosio (Aironi), Fabio Semenzato (Treviso), Riccardo Bocchino (Aironi), Tommaso Benvenuti (Treviso), Gonzalo Garcia (Treviso), Luke McLean (Treviso), Andrea Pratichetti (Treviso), Matteo Pratichetti (Aironi), Alberto Sgarbi (Treviso), Giulio Toniolatti (Aironi), Luciano Orquera (Brive/FRA), Edoardo Gori (Treviso), Craig Gower (Bayonne/FRA), Mirco Bergamasco (Racing-Metro/FRA), Gonzalo Canale (Clermont/FRA), Andrea Masi (Racing-Metro/FRA)