O’Shea names Italy squad for World Cup

Rich Dore
19 August 2019

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Italy head coach Conor O’Shea has named his squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan, with 15 Benetton Rugby and 10 Zebre players included in the 31.

Commencing their campaign against Namibia in Osaka on Sunday 22 September, the Azzurri, skippered by Sergio Parisse, also face New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.

Parisse, set to appear in his fifth World Cup, is joined by Maxime Mbanda, Sebastian Negri, Jake Polledri and Abraham Steyn as the back-row options – with Dean Budd, Federico Ruzza, David Sisi and Alessandro Zanni the locks named.

Simone Ferrari, Andrea Lovotti, Tiziano Pasquali, Nicola Quaglio, Marco Riccioni, Federico Zani, Luca Bigi, Oliviero Fabiani and Leonardo Ghiraldini complete the pack as the nine front rows.

O’Shea commented: “Choosing the 31 players for the Rugby World Cup and informing those who will not continue the adventure with us was probably the hardest thing I have done since I’ve been in rugby.

“It’s a dream for everyone to represent Italy at the World Cup and it’s been difficult because everyone deserved to be here.

“We began an important job training together on June 2 and speaking to Tommaso Castello and Marcello Violi – the first players to find out they wouldn’t travel (due to injury) – was not easy.

“Now all the boys have an extra responsibility for the jersey they wear, for the fans and for all the players who stayed at home.”

After powering past Russia 85-15 over the weekend O’Shea named 18 forwards and 13 backs in his squad, the three scrum-half spots occupied by Gloucester’s Callum Braley, Zebre’s Guglielmo Palazzani and Benetton’s Tito Tebaldi.

Two fly-halves are named – Benetton’s Tommaso Allan and Zebre’s Carlo Canna.

Tommaso Benvenuti, Michele Campagnaro and Luca Morisi are included as centres and O’Shea completes his group with back-three options of Mattia Bellini, Giulio Bisegni, Jayden Hayward, Matteo Minozzi and Edoardo Padovani.

Italy’s 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup


Simone Ferrari (Benetton Rugby)

Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby Club)

Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton Rugby)

Nicola Quaglio (Benetton Rugby)

Marco Riccioni (Benetton Rugby)

Federico Zani (Benetton Rugby)


Luca Bigi (Zebre Rugby Club)

Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre Rugby Club)

Leonardo Ghiraldini (Unattached)


Dean Budd (Benetton Rugby)

Federico Ruzza (Benetton Rugby)

David Sisi (Zebre Rugby Club)

Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Rugby)

Back row

Maxime Mbanda ‘(Zebre Rugby Club)

Sebastian Negri (Benetton Rugby)

Sergio Parisse (Toulon) – captain

Jake Polledri (Gloucester)

Abraham Steyn (Benetton Rugby)


Callum Braley (Gloucester)

Guglielmo Palazzini (Zebre Rugby Club)

Tito Tebaldi (Benetton Rugby)


Tommaso Allan (Benetton Rugby)

Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby Club)


Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Rugby)

Michele Campagnaro (Harlequins)

Luca Morisi (Benetton Rugby)

Back three

Mattia Bellini (Zebre Rugby Club)

Giulio Bisegni (Zebre Rugby Club)

Jayden Hayward (Benetton Rugby)

Matteo Minozzi (Wasps)

Edoardo Padovani (Zebre Rugby Club)

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