Rugby-Flyhalf Garbisi named in Italy squad for Six Nations opener

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Wales v Italy - Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, Britain - March 19, 2022 Italy's Paolo Garbisi celebrates with teammates after the match Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

(Reuters) - Italy have named flyhalf Paolo Garbisi in their squad for their first two Six Nations matches against France and England after he recovered from a knee problem that had threatened his participation in the tournament.

Coach Kieran Crowley suggested earlier this week that Garbisi would be absent from his selection, but it appears the Montpellier number 10 has done enough to prove his fitness.

The squad has no real surprises in it, though Crowley is missing a number of injured players including number eight Toa Halafihi, hooker Gianmarco Lucchesi, flyhalf Leonardo Marin and lock David Sisi.

"We have had a good week of work in Verona, putting the foundations in place for the Six Nations," Crowley said in a media release from the Italian Rugby Federation on Saturday.

"We are taking it step-by-step. Our focus now is on the present and that is France. We have faith in our abilities and are on our path with the aim of continuing to build something important."

Italy claimed a first Six Nations win in seven years when they defeated Wales 22-21 in Cardiff in their final game last season, ending a 36-game losing streak in the competition. They followed that up with a historic first victory over Australia in the autumn internationals.

They open their Six Nations campaign this year at home to France on Feb. 5, before travelling to Twickenham to play England a week later.

Italy squad:

Forwards: Pietro Ceccarelli, Simone Ferrari, Danilo Fischetti, Marco Riccioni, Luca Rizzoli, Federico Zani, Luca Bigi, Marco Manfredi, Giacomo Nicotera, Niccolò Cannone, Riccardo Favretto, Edoardo Iachizzi, Federico Ruzza, Lorenzo Cannone, Michele Lamaro, Sebastian Negri, Giovanni Pettinelli, Jake Polledri, Manuel Zuliani

Backs: Alessandro Fusco, Alessandro Garbisi, Stephen Varney, Tommaso Allan, Giacomo Da Re, Paolo Garbisi, Juan Ignacio Brex , Enrico Lucchin, Tommaso Menoncello, Luca Morisi, Pierre Bruno, Ange Capuozzo, Matteo Minozzi, Edoardo Padovani.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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