Rugby-Minozzi and Campagnaro return to Italy squad for autumn tests


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Italy v England - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - October 31, 2020 Italy’s Matteo Minozzi in action with England’s Jonny May REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/File Photo

ROME (Reuters) - Matteo Minozzi and Michele Campagnaro returned to the Italy setup as head coach Kieran Crowley named a 34-man squad including four uncapped players for the Autumn Internationals on Wednesday.

New Zealander Crowley will take charge of the Azzurri for the first time when they face the All Blacks in Rome on Nov. 6, before further tests against Argentina in Treviso on Nov. 13 and Uruguay in Parma on Nov. 20.

Wasps fullback Minozzi chose not to take part in the Six Nations earlier this year, saying he was "physically and mentally tired, too much so to live in a bubble for another two months."

But he returns to the squad under Crowley, along with 46-cap centre Campagnaro, who has not featured for the national team since the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Four players could make their international debuts during the autumn: props Ivan Nemer and Matteo Nocera, scrumhalf Alessandro Fusco and winger Pierre Bruno.

“We want to create a strong team identity and playing in cities like Rome, Treviso and Parma, places with strong rugby roots in the area, will be an important factor in working towards our goals and facing opponents at our best,” Crowley said.

“Debuting against the All Blacks at the Stadio Olimpico in front of our fans will have a special taste.”

Sergio Parisse, Jake Polledri, Johan Meyer, Edoardo Padovani, Simone Ferrari, Marco Manfredi, Daniele Rimpelli, Giosue Zilocchi and Manuel Zuliani were not considered due to injuries.

Italy squad for Autumn Internationals

Forwards: Pietro Ceccarelli (Brive), Danilo Fischetti (Zebre Rugby Club), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby Club), Ivan Nemer (Benetton Rugby), Matteo Nocera (Fiamme Oro Rugby), Marco Riccioni (Saracens), Luca Bigi (Zebre Rugby Club), Gianmarco Lucchesi (Benetton Rugby), Federico Zani (Benetton Rugby), Niccolò Cannone (Benetton Rugby), Marco Fuser (Newcastle Falcons), Federico Ruzza (Benetton Rugby), David Sisi (Zebre Rugby Club), Renato Giammarioli (Zebre Rugby Club), Michele Lamaro (Benetton Rugby), Giovanni Licata (Zebre Rugby Club), Maxime Mbanda (Zebre Rugby Club), Sebastian Negri (Benetton Rugby), Abraham Steyn (Benetton Rugby)

Backs: Callum Braley (Benetton Rugby) Alessandro Fusco (Fiamme Oro Rugby), Stephen Varney (Gloucester Rugby), Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby Club) Paolo Garbisi (Montpellier), Tommaso Boni (Zebre Rugby Club), Juan Ignacio Brex (Benetton Rugby), Michele Campagnaro (Colomiers), Luca Morisi (Benetton Rugby), Marco Zanon (Benetton Rugby), Mattia Bellini (Zebre Rugby Club), Pierre Bruno (Zebre Rugby Club), Montanna Ioane (Benetton Rugby), Matteo Minozzi (Wasps Rugby), Federico Mori (Bordeaux)

(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Toby Davis)

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