June International Tours

Mallet swings the axe and changes eight

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Italy have made eight changes for Saturday’s one-off rugby  international against New Zealand from the side which started the second Test against Australia last weekend.


Of the forwards, only captain Sergio Parisse and lock Marco Bortolami have survived coach Nick Mallett’s axe, while Kaine Robertson and Mirco Bergamasco come in on the wings.


Mallett declined to describe it as his best team, singling out openside flanker Simone Favaro in particular as unlucky to miss out.


But he indicated the side would be stronger than both selections beaten in the recent two-Test series against Australia.


“The plan was to play almost every player in the first two Tests,” he said.


“And no matter what happened in the second Test, I said their performances in the first two Tests would be considered and everyone was up for selection for the last Test — and there were some very very close selections.”


Mallett said he hoped his much-changed side would make life difficult for the strongly favoured All Blacks.


“We have our strengths. We have our areas of our game we like to play to,” he said.


“But obviously the All Blacks have got their areas of strength they’re going to try to play to and I think Test match rugby is about making it as uncomfortable as possible for the opposition to win.”


Italy (15-1)


Luke McLean; Kaine Robertson, Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Mirco Bergamasco; Craig Gower, Tito Tebaldi; Sergio Parisse (captain), Mauro Bergamasco, Alessandro Zanni; Marco Bortolami, Quintin Geldenhuys; Ignacio Rouyet, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Salvatore Perugini


Reserves: Franco Sbaraglini, Fabio Staibano, Carlo Antonio Del Fava, Simone Favaro, Guilio Toniolatti, Kristopher Burton, Matteo Pratichetti

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