Aironi winger Giovanbattista Venditti admits he has no fear heading into his international debut against France and wants to replicate last year’s remarkable Six Nations victory against the World Cup runners-up.
The 21-year-old, whose great form in the RaboDirect PRO12 forced Brunel’s hand, watched on as Mirco Bergamasco kicked a last-gasp penalty to secure a memorable 22-21 victory in 2011, a result that sent shockwaves through French rugby.
Venditti will form part of a youthful-looking backline with Edoardo Gori coming in at scrum-half and Tommaso Benvenuti and Alberto Sgarbi at centre but cannot wait to get stuck in.
He said: “I'm delighted. I've dreamed of playing for my country since I was young. I always used to go and watch them at the Stadio Flaminio.
"Rather than being afraid of the emotion, it's my first cap, playing against France in Paris, the World Cup runners-up who’ll be wanting revenge for last year – it's brilliant."
French-born coach Jacques Brunel, who took over from Nick Mallet after the World Cup, is equally confident about his young troops’ chances.
"Giovanbattista [Venditti] is a player with potential, he has speed and power and he's young," said Brunel.
“The many youngsters will give a different vision to start us on a different path.”