Michele Campagnaro and Marco Fuser are among the recalled players in a 34-strong Italy training squad named by Kieran Crowley ahead of the upcoming Autumn Nations Series.
Centre Campagnaro, who left Wasps for Colomiers in the summer, could make his first Azzurri appearance since the 2019 World Cup, while Newcastle Falcons lock Fuser hasn’t pulled on an Italy jersey since November 2018.
Explosive backs Matteo Minozzi and Luca Morisi are both back in the squad after not being selected for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, while four uncapped players are also in the group – props Ivan Nemer and Matteo Nocera, scrum-half Alessandro Fusco and back-three speedster Pierre Bruno.
Italy’s autumn kicks off with a daunting game against New Zealand in Rome on November 6 before a clash with Argentina in Treviso seven days later and a match-up against Uruguay in Parma another week on.
Ufficializzata la lista degli atleti convocati per il raduno in preparazione dell’@autumnnations, in programma a 📍Verona a partire dal 24 ottobre ➡ https://t.co/PWxDezwHFl#insieme #rugbypassioneitaliana#AutumnNationsSeries pic.twitter.com/Pt2WzFEwpx
— Italrugby (@Federugby) October 13, 2021
And Crowley is excited for the group to link up at the Payanini Center in Verona to start their autumn preparations.
“It is exciting to get to the heart of the work that we started planning from last summer,” said the boss.
“The team building activities were important in order to begin to get to know all the various members of the group from a human point of view.
“With the technical staff, there was a constant and synergistic work together with the federal franchises (Benetton and Zebre), constantly monitoring the players who play in Italy and abroad.
“We want to create a strong team identity and playing in cities like Rome, Treviso and Parma, places that have a strong rugby roots in the area, will be an important factor in working towards our goals and facing the next opponents in the best possible way.
“Beginning against the All Blacks at the Olympic Stadium with the presence of our fans will have a special flavour.”
Italy training squad ahead of the Autumn Nations Series:
FORWARDS: Pietro CECCARELLI (Brive, 14 caps), Danilo FISCHETTI (Zebre Rugby Club, 12 caps), Andrea LOVOTTI (Zebre Rugby Club, 47 caps), Ivan NEMER (Benetton Ruby, uncapped), Matteo NOCERA (Fiamme Oro Rugby, uncapped), Marco RICCIONI (Saracens, 15 caps), Luca BIGI (Zebre Rugby Club 37 caps), Gianmarco LUCCHESI (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps), Federico ZANI (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps), Niccolò CANNONE (Benetton Rugby, 13 caps), Marco FUSER (Newcastle Falcons, 33 caps), Federico RUZZA (Benetton Rugby, 22 caps), David SISI (Zebre Rugby Club, 15 caps), Renato GIAMMARIOLI (Zebre Rugby Club, 4 caps), Michele LAMARO (Benetton Rugby, 7 caps), Giovanni LICATA (Zebre Rugby Club, 11 caps), Maxime MBANDA (Zebre Rugby Club, 29 caps), Sebastian NEGRI (Benetton Rugby, 33 caps), Abraham STEYN (Benetton Rugby, 44 caps)
BACKS: Callum BRALEY (Benetton Rugby, 10 caps), Alessandro FUSCO (Fiamme Oro Rugby, uncapped), Stephen VARNEY (Gloucester Rugby 7 caps), Carlo CANNA (Zebre Rugby Club, 52 caps), Paolo GARBISI (Montpellier, 10 caps), Tommaso BONI (Zebre Rugby Club, 11 caps), Juan Ignacio BREX (Benetton Rugby, 5 caps), Michele CAMPAGNARO (Colomiers, 46 caps), Luca MORISI (Benetton Rugby, 34 caps), Marco ZANON (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps), Mattia BELLINI (Zebre Rugby Club, 31 caps), Pierre BRUNO (Zebre Rugby Club, uncapped), Montanna IOANE (Benetton Rugby, 6 caps), Matteo MINOZZI (Wasps Rugby, 22 caps), Federico MORI (Bordeaux, 9 caps)