Italy look abroad, pick NZ and SA-born flanks

Conor O'Shea (Getty)
Conor O'Shea (Getty)

Milan - South African-born Johan Meyer and New Zealander Jimmy Tuivaiti were called up by Italy coach Conor O'Shea for the first time on Wednesday ahead of their end of year Tests.

Uncapped flanks Meyer, 25, and Tuivaiti, 30, were named among Irishman O'Shea's 37-man squad for a training camp in Verona from October 21-24.

Italy take on Six Nations champions Ireland on November 3 in Chicago before playing Georgia on November 10 in Florence, Australia on November 17 in Padua and New Zealand on November 24 in Rome.

Both Meyer and Tuivaiti play for Italian franchise Zebre, and were among 14 players from the team along with Giosue Zilocchi, Oliviero Fabiani, George Biagi, Tommaso Castello and Carlo Canna. 

The line-up also includes 19 players from Pro14 side Benetton including Sebastian Negri, Alessandro Zanni and Tommaso Allan.

"We have selected a wider squad considering the challenges that await us this autumn and in view of the Rugby World Cup, now less than a year away, and we hope that most of the athletes will have the opportunity to take the field," said O'Shea.

Captain Sergio Parisse, 34, has been named despite being ruled out for club side Stade Francais with a calf muscle problem.

The Italy injury list includes Matteo Minozzi, Leonardo Sarto, Angelo Esposito, Giovanni Licata, Maxime Mbanda and Federico Zani. 

Luca Sprandio, who has impressed for Edinburgh in the Celtic Pro14, has also been named after winning his first two caps in the 2017 Six Nations against France and Scotland. 

Italy squad:

Forwards

Simone Ferrari (Benetton), Andrea Lovotti(Zebre), Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton), Nicola Quaglia (Benetton), Cherif Traore (Benetton), Giosue Zilocchi (Zebre); Luca Bigi (Benetton), Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Toulouse/FRA); George Biagi (Zebre), Dean Budd (Benetton), Marco Fuser (Benetton), Marco Lazzaroni (Benetton), Federico Ruzza (Benetton), Alessandro Zanni (Benetton); Renato Giammarioli (Zebre), Johan Meyer (Zebre), Sebastian Negri (Benetton), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA-capt), Jake Polledri (Gloucester Rugby/ENG), Abraham Jurgens Steyn (Benetton), Jimmy Tuivaiti (Zebre)

Backs

Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre), Tito Tebaldi(Benetton), Marcello Violin (Zebre); Tommaso Allan (Benetton), Carlo Canna (Zebre), Ian McKinley (Benetton); Giulio Bisegni (Zebre), Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs/ENG), Tommaso Castello (Zebre), Luca Morisi (Benetton); Mattia Bellini (Zebre), Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton), Jayden Hayward (Benetton), Edoardo Padovani (Zebre), Luca Sperandio (Benetton)

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