Michele Campagnaro and Luca Morisi will make their returns for Italy this summer after being named in a 31-man squad for the summer tour to Japan.
The pair missed the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations, with Campagnaro just back from a serious knee injury, while Morisi had been out for the best part of three years due to a number of injuries.
With both now back up to speed, they come into Conor O’Shea’s squad for the two-Test series against the Brave Blossoms, with a warm-up match scheduled against Yamaha Jubilo.
Italia, i convocati per il #tour2018 in Giappone 🇯🇵
— Italrugby (@Federugby) May 2, 2018
This tour will also see former All Black assistant coach Wayne Smith link up with O’Shea and his squad.
And O’Shea is excited at the strength in depth within his squad, with Benetton prop Cherif Traore the only uncapped player included.
He said: “We’ve picked a very strong squad for this summer tour to Japan. The fact that, despite the large number of absentees due to injury, there was still a big debate among the staff for the 31 players selected, underlines once again the work that has been done over the last two years by the coaches at Zebre and Treviso.
“If we consider the players who are unavailable, those not selected and a group of young players who will joins the squads of the two franchises next season, it’s easy to see why there is such a lot of enthusiasm as the work being undertaken.
“This tour is a great opportunity for the team to continue to learn and grow ahead of the World Cup next year in Japan but we also want to develop the necessary competition in the squad to turn our performances into results.”
Skipper Sergio Parisse will miss the summer tour with injury as will some other experienced figures like Maxime Mbanda and Leonardo Sarto – as well as Benetton fly-half Ian McKinley.
Italy squad to tour Japan
Simone FERRARI (Benetton Rugby, 13 caps)
Andrea LOVOTTI (Zebre Rugby Club, 25 caps)
Tiziano PASQUALI (Benetton Rugby, 7 caps)
Cherif TRAORE (Benetton Rugby, uncapped)
Federico ZANI (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps)
Luca BIGI (Benetton Rugby, 9 caps)
Oliviero FABIANI (Zebre Rugby Club, 6 caps)
Leonardo GHIRALDINI (Stade Toulousain, 94 caps)
George BIAGI (Zebre Rugby Club, 21 caps)
Dean BUDD (Benetton Rugby, 11 caps)
Marco FUSER (Benetton Rugby, 27 caps)
Federico RUZZA (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps)
Alessandro ZANNI (Benetton Rugby, 104 caps)
Giovanni LICATA (Fiamme Oro Rugby, 5 caps)
Sebastiani NEGRI (Benetton Rugby, 7 caps)
Jake POLLEDRI (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
Abraham Jurgens STEYN (Benetton Rugby, 19 caps)
Guglielmo PALAZZANI (Zebre Rugby Club, 24 caps)
Tito TEBALDI (Benetton Rugby, 23 caps)
Marcello VIOLI (Zebre Rugby Club, 13 caps)
Tommaso ALLAN (Benetton Rugby, 38 caps)
Carlo CANNA (Zebre Rugby Club, 29 caps)
Giulio BISEGNI (Zebre Rugby Club, 9 caps)
Michele CAMPAGNARO (Exeter Chiefs, 32 caps)
Tommaso CASTELLO (Zebre Rugby Club, 10 caps)
Luca MORISI (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps)
Mattia BELLINI (Zebre Rugby Club, 13 caps)
Tommaso BENVENUTI (Benetton Rugby, 50 caps)
Jayden HAYWARD (Benetton Rugby, 8 caps)
Matteo MINOZZI (Zebre Rugby Club, 8 caps)
Edoardo PADOVANI (Zebre Rugby Club, 14 caps)