2018 Six Nations: Italy team to play England in Six Nations opener

2018 Six Nations: Italy team to play England

Italy head coach Conor O’Shea has named his matchday squad to take on England in their opening Six Nations Test in Rome on Sunday.

O’Shea has made seven changes to his starting line-up which faced South Africa in their previous match in Padova last November.

In the back-line, Matteo Minozzi comes into the run-on side at full-back in place of Jayden Hayward, who drops down to the bench. Minozzi is joined in the back three by Tommaso Benvenuti, who replaces Angelo Esposito on the right wing, and Mattia Bellini.

The final change in the backs sees Tommaso Allan taking over from Carlo Canna at fly-half. Allan is joined in the halfbacks by scrum-half Marcello Violi while Tommaso Boni and Tommaso Castello are the centre pairing.


In the forwards, veteran number eight Sergio Parisse captains the side in his 130th Test and he is joined in the back row by Renato Giammarioli and Sebastian Negri, who replace Abraham Steyn and Giovanni Licata as the flankers.

The final changes are in the second row where Alessandro Zanni is preferred to Marco Fuser and in the front row where Leonardo Ghiraldini takes over from Luca Bigi at hooker.

Italy: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Tommaso Boni, 12 Tommaso Castello, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Renato Giammarioli, 6 Sebastian Negri, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Nicola Quaglio, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 George Biagi, 20 Maxime Mbanda’, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Jayden Hayward