Conor O’Shea has named just one uncapped player in his 31-man squad for Italy’s training camp in Rome ahead of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.
Second rower David Sisi has won his first-ever call up for the Azzurri, which will join up at the Giulio Onesti Olympic Committee Preparation Centre from January 20-23.
He is just one of ten Zebre players to make the squad, with teammates Guglielmo Palazzani, Jimmy Tuivaiti and Giulio Bisegni among those joining him for the training camp.
Flanker Maxime Mbanda, whose last appearance came in last year’s Championship against Wales, also makes his return after being disrupted by injuries last season.
🔴 #Italrugby: annunciati i 31 convocati per il primo raduno di preparazione al @SixNationsRugby 2019 ➡ https://t.co/OjvEFbACZI@SeiNazioniRugby #insieme #rugbypassioneitaliana pic.twitter.com/J6eJUHE6DR
— Italrugby (@Federugby) January 9, 2019
A strong contingent of Benetton players has also been selected by O’Shea, with Tommaso Allan, Tito Tebaldi and Ian McKinley among the 18 players to make the squad from the Guinness Pro14 side.
O’Shea said: “As ever there have been some difficult selection decisions but we are looking forward to getting the group back together and continuing to work towards not just been competitive but winning at the highest level.
“The Six Nations this year has probably never seen so many squads operating at the very highest level. We know the challenge but also know when we get our levels to where they need to be we can be more than just competitive but we need to work even harder now to ensure the big moments in these matches go our way.
“We have played and beaten teams like Fiji, Japan and Georgia over the past 18 months but have not been able to get the victory against the top tier teams that will really springboard what we are doing in Italian Rugby and also lift the confidence to go to the next level.
“We are working and will continue to work and play with an ambition to achieve the goals we all have for Italian Rugby.”
Italian squad for training camp:
Simone Ferrari (Benetton Rugby)
Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby)
Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton Rugby)
Cherif Traore (Benetton Rugby)
Giosuè Zilocchi (Zebre Rugby)
Luca Bigi (Benetton Rugby)
Leonardo Ghiraldini (Stade Toulousian)
Dean Budd (Benetton Rugby)
Federico Ruzza (Benetton Rugby)
David Sisi (Zebre Rugby Club)
Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Rugby)
Marco Barbini (Benetton Rugby)
Maxime Mbanda (Zebre Rugby Club)
Sebastian Negri (Benetton Rugby)
Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais)
Abraham Jurgens Steyn (Benetton Rugby)
Jimmy Tuivaiti (Zebre Rugby)
Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre Rugby
Tito Tebaldi (Benetton Rugby)
Tommaso Allan (Benetton Rugby)
Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby)
Ian McKinley (Benetton Rugby)
Giulio Bisegni (Zebre Rugby)
Michele Campagnaro (Wasps)
Tommaso Castello (Zebre Rugby)
Luca Morisi (Benetton Rugby)
Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Rugby)
Angelo Esposito (Benetton Rugby)
Jayden Hayward (Benetton Rugby)
Edoardo Padovani (Zebre Rugby)
Luca Sperandio (Benetton Rugby)