Italy head coach Franco Smith has named a 33-man training squad ahead of their Six Nations return later this month.
The Azzurri kick-start the resumption of this year’s Six Nations alongside Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on October 24, before bringing their campaign to its delayed conclusion at home to England a week later.
Italy lost the opening three rounds of the Six Nations and will look to avoid finishing the season winless once again. However, it looks as if they will do so without the services of Sergio Parisse.
Ahead of the team’s trip to Dublin, Italy begin their preparations in Rome this weekend before an updated 31-man squad will be announced on October 18.
Parisse could well return to the squad at this stage or the week after as he brings the curtain down on his remarkable test career. Meanwhile, test centurian Leonardo Ghiraldini returns to the squad having recovered from injury after he planned to bring an end to his test career during the World Cup.
Franco Smith looks to be planning for the future with seven uncapped players included in the side with Stephen Varney, Paolo Garbisi, Federico Mori, Jacopo Trulla, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Riccardo Favretto and Giovanni Pettinelli. While Monty Ioane, cousin of former Wallaby Digby, has also been invited to the camp.
Welsh-born scrumhalf Stephen Varney has been included in the side following his form with Gloucester. He qualifies for Italy through his mother Valeria and has also played u20s for Italy.
Callum Braley (Benetton Rugby, 8 caps)
Stephen Varney (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
Marcello Violi (Zebre Rugby Club, 15 caps)
Tommaso Allan (Benetton Rugby, 57 caps)
Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby Club, 42 caps)
Paolo Garbisi (Benetton Rugby, uncapped)
Giulio Bisegni (Zebre Rugby Club, 16 caps)
Luca Morisi (Benetton Rugby, 32 caps)
Marco Zanon (Benetton Rugby, 1 cap)
Mattia Bellini (Zebre Rugby Club, 25 caps)
Jayden Hayward (Benetton Rugby, 26 caps)
Matteo Minozzi (Wasps, 19 caps)
Federico Mori (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano, uncapped)
Edoardo Padovani (Benetton Rugby, 23 caps)
Jacopo Trulla (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano, uncapped)
Pietro Ceccarelli (Brive, 9 caps)
Simone Ferrari (Benetton Rugby, 29 caps)
Danilo Fischetti (Zebre Rugby Club, 3 caps)
Cherif Traore (Benetton Rugby, 10 caps)
Giosue Zilocchi (Zebre Rugby Club, 5 caps)
Luca Bigi (Zebre Rugby Club, 27 caps) – captain
Leonardo Ghiraldini (svincolato, 104 caps)
Gianmarco Lucchesi (Benetton Rugby, uncapped)
Niccolò Cannone (Benetton Rugby, 3 caps)
Riccardo Favretto (Mogliano Rugby/Benetton Rugby, uncapped)
Marco Lazzaroni (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps)
David Sisi (Zebre Rugby Club, 9 caps)
Maxime Mbanda (Zebre Rugby Club, 20 caps)
Johan Meyer (Zebre Rugby Club, 4 caps)
Sebastian Negri (Benetton Rugby, 25 caps)
Giovanni Pettinelli (Benetton Rugby, uncapped)
Jake Polledri (Gloucester Rugby, 16 caps)
Abraham Steyn (Benetton Rugby, 39 caps)