Rugby-Italy go back to basics for New Zealand clash in Lyon

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2023 - Pool A - Italy v Namibia - Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Etienne, France - September 9, 2023 Italy's Dino Lamb scores their third try REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/File Photo

(Reuters) - Italy made three changes to their team to face New Zealand in their Rugby World Cup Pool A clash in Lyon on Friday, with Dino Lamb, Luca Morisi and Stephen Varney returning to the squad seeking a first ever win over the All Blacks.

Coach Kieran Crowley has reverted back to almost the same side which defeated Namibia, which sees Paolo Garbisi back at flyhalf, Tommaso Allan in the fullback position and wing Ange Capuozzo as part of their attacking backline selection.

The only change from that opening 52-8 win over Namibia sees prop Marco Riccioni, who played in the victory over Uruguay, in for Simone Ferrari.

"As against previous opponents, the focus will be on our performance. Accuracy and discipline will be key," Crowley said.

"We will face this game with courage and continue to consolidate our identity."

Lamb, who scored a try against Namibia, slots back in for Niccolo Cannone who drops to the bench after the Uruguay win, scrumhalf Varney returns in place of Alessandro Garbisi, and Morisi is back at centre.

Italy are currently in second place in Pool A, with 10 points, three points behind France and five ahead of the All Blacks. A surprise win over New Zealand would see Italy reach the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time.

The two sides have met on 15 occasions, and New Zealand have won them all.

Italy still have one more game after this, when they face hosts France, again in Lyon, on Oct. 6.

Italy team: 15-Tommaso Allan, 14-Ange Capuozzo, 13-Juan Ignacio Brex, 12-Luca Morisi, 11-Montanna Ioane, 10-Paolo Garbisi, 9-Stephen Varney, 8-Lorenzo Cannone, 7-Michele Lamaro (captain), 6-Sebastian Negri, 5-Federico Ruzza, 4-Dino Lamb, 3-Marco Riccioni , 2-Giacomo Nicotera, 1-Danilo Fischetti

Replacements: 16-Hame Faiva, 17-Ivan Nemer, 18-Simone Ferrari, 19-Niccolo Cannone, 20-Manuel Zuliani, 21-Toa Halafihi, 22-Martin Page-Relo, 23-Paolo Odogwu.

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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