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Sport Smith names unchanged Italy team to face Ireland

18:24  25 february  2021
18:24  25 february  2021 Source:   reuters.com

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(Reuters) - Italy coach Franco Smith has named an unchanged side for the visit of Ireland in Saturday's Six Nations match.

a man wearing a blue shirt: FILE PHOTO: Autumn Nations Cup - Wales v Italy © Reuters/PETER CZIBORRA FILE PHOTO: Autumn Nations Cup - Wales v Italy

Young halfback pair Stephen Varney, 19, and Paolo Garbisi, 20, are again entrusted by Smith, with Juan Ignacio Brex earning his third cap at centre alongside Carlo Canna, who will reach a half century of appearances for the Azzurri.

Italy have lost 29 Six Nations matches in a row stretching back to a win over Scotland in 2015 and firm favourites to pick up a sixth successive wooden spoon in this year's competition.

Smith, though, sees progression in his young side.

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"We worked a lot on ourselves focusing on our game plan," Smith told a news conference on Thursday after keepig faith with the XV beaten 41-18 by England at Twickenham.

"Against Ireland we aim to show the same attitude we showed in the last match with the aim of taking another step forward in the growth path."

Ireland are still searching for their first victory in this year's Championship after losses to Wales and France, who beat Italy 50-10 in their opening game.

Italy team:

15. Jacopo Trulla (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano, 5 caps)

14. Luca Sperandio (Benetton Rugby, 10 caps)

13. Juan Ignacio Brex (Benetton Rugby, 2 cap)

12. Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby Club, 49 caps)

11. Montanna Ioane (Benetton Rugby, 3 caps)

10. Paolo Garbisi (Benetton Rugby, 7 caps)


Gallery: The best ever meetings between England and Ireland (Grid)

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Owen Farrell et al. watching a football ball: The best ever meetings between England and Ireland

9. Stephen Varney (Gloucester Rugby, 5 caps)

8. Michele Lamaro (Benetton Rugby, 4 caps)

7. Johan Meyer (Zebre Rugby Club, 11 caps)

6. Sebastian Negri (Benetton Rugby, 30 caps)

5. David Sisi (Zebre Rugby Club, 13 caps)

4. Marco Lazzaroni (Benetton Rugby, 13 caps)

3. Marco Riccioni (Benetton Rugby, 9 caps)

2. Luca Bigi (Zebre Rugby Club, 34 caps) (C)

1. Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby Club, 44 caps)

Replacements:

16. Gianmarco Lucchesi(Benetton Rugby, 4 caps)

17. Cherif Traore (Benetton Rugby, 10 caps)

18. Giosuè Zilocchi (Zebre Rugby Club, 12 caps)

19. Niccolò Cannone (Benetton Rugby, 10 caps)

20. Maxime Mbanda (Zebre Rugby Club, 26 caps)

21. Callum Braley (Benetton Rugby, 49 caps)

22. Federico Mori (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano, 6 caps)

23. Mattia Bellini (Zebre Rugby Club, 28 caps)

(Reporting by Peter Hall; editing by Ken Ferris)

Ireland must 'free themselves' to rescue Six Nations campaign: attack coach .
Ireland's players must communicate better and "free themselves up" when they face Italy on Saturday after a disastrous start to their Six Nations campaign, said attack coach Mike Catt. Andy Farrell's men head to Rome hoping to avoid losing their first three games for the first time since the 1998 Five Nations -- before Italy were added to the championship. Catt was part of the England side that ensured the Irish ended up pointless that year, scoring a try in the 35-17 victory on the final day. The 49-year-old has been criticised for the lack of cut and thrust shown by the backs in the 21-16 defeat by Wales and the 15-13 loss to France.

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