World Cup - Team Guide: Italy

Thu, 08 Sep 17:11:00 2011

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Italy's players celebrate at the end of their Six Nations rugby match at the Flaminio stadium - 0

ITALY

Colours: Blue shirt, white shorts.

Nickname: Azzurri.

World ranking: 11.

Coach: Nick Mallett.

The South African leaves his post following the World Cup, after the Italian Federation opted not to renew his contract when it expires at the end of the tournament. The former Springboks coach guided the Azzurri to their best Six Nations win so far against France in March, but they still finished last again.

Squad:

BACKS Born Caps Tries Cons Pens DGs Pts

Tommaso Benvenuti 12/12/90 8 1 0 0 0 5

Mirco Bergamasco 23/2/83 82 17 10 42 0 231

Ricardo Bocchino 3/3/88 8 0 3 0 0 6

Gonzalo Canale 11/11/82 68 7 0 0 0 35

Pablo Canavosio 26/12/81 37 6 0 0 0 30

Gonzalo Garcia 18/2/84 22 1 0 0 0 5

Edoardo Gori 5/3/90 5 1 0 0 0 5

Andrea Masi 30/3/81 61 13 0 0 0 65

Luke McLean 29/6/87 29 3 0 13 0 54

Luciano Orquera 12/10/81 24 2 4 8 0 42

Matteo Pratichetti 27/7/85 23 5 0 0 0 25

Fabio Semenzato 6/5/86 5 1 0 0 0 5

Alberto Sgarbi 26/11/86 13 0 0 0 0 0

Giulio Toniolatti 15/1/84 6 0 0 0 0 0

FORWARDS

Robert Barbieri 5/6/84 15 1 0 0 0 5

Mauro Bergamasco 1/5/79 85 14 0 0 0 70

Marco Bortolami 12/6/80 85 7 0 0 0 35

Martin Castrogiovanni 21/10/81 78 10 0 0 0 50

Lorenzo Cittadini 17/12/82 6 0 0 0 0 0

Tommaso D’Apice 30/6/88 2 0 0 0 0 0

Carlo Antonio del Fava 1/7/81 53 1 0 0 0 5

Paul Derbyshire 3/11/86 12 0 0 0 0 0

Quintin Geldenhuys 19/6/81 22 0 0 0 0 0

Leonardo Ghiraldini 26/12/84 38 3 0 0 0 15

Andrea Lo Cicero 7/5/76 88 8 0 0 0 40

Fabio Ongaro 23/9/77 77 5 0 0 0 25

Sergio Parisse 12/9/83 79 6 0 0 1 33

Salvatore Perugini 6/3/78 80 0 0 0 0 0

Cornelius van Zyl 27/1/79 2 0 0 0 0 0

Alessandro Zanni 31/1/84 54 1 0 0 0 5

Key player: Sergio Parisse.

The lynchpin of the Italian team for many a year and would walk into most other international sides with his outstanding handling skills and lineout ability. The giant number eight is not only skipper of the Azzurri but has also captained French Top 14 club Stade Francais.

2010-11 form:

13/11/10 v Argentina (Verona) L 16-22

20/11/10 v Australia (Firenze) L 14-32

27/11/10 v Fiji (Modena) W 24-16

5/2/11 v Ireland (Rome) L 11-13

12/2/11 v England (Twickenham) L 13-59

26/2/11 v Wales (Rome) L 16-24

12/3/11 v France (Rome) W 22-21

19/3/11 v Scotland (Edinburgh) L 8-21

13/8/11 v Japan (Cesena) W 31-24

20/8/11 v Scotland (Edinburgh) L 12-23

World Cup pedigree:

Group stage: 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007.

Record: P20, W7, D0, L13.

Most appearances: Alessandro Troncon 14.

Most points: Diego Dominguez 98.

Most tries: Marcello Cuttitta 5.

High:

The 2007 tournament, where Italy came within an ace of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time. After victories over Romania and Portugal, they needed to beat Scotland in their final group match to qualify, but were edged out 18-16 by Chris Paterson’s six penalties from six attempts.

Low:

Their 101-3 thrashing by New Zealand in the 1999 tournament – the only finals where they have failed to win a group match. The Azzurri conceded 14 tries on a grim day for Italian rugby and ended up bottom of their pool.

Hero: Diego Dominguez.

The goalkicking fly-half has been responsible for some of Italy’s best moments at the World Cup, harvesting 14 points in their 30-9 win over the USA in 1991, 13 in their brave 21-31 loss to New Zealand the same year and 21 in their 31-25 victory over Argentina in 1995.

Villain: Mauro Bergamasco.

For his yellow card for a late tackle in the crucial pool match against Scotland in 2007. Had the flanker stayed on the pitch, maybe the Azzurri would have won and reached the last eight for the first time.

2011 prospects:

Their unlucky and narrow Six Nations defeat by Ireland in Rome earlier this year gives the Azzurri hope that they might progress to the knockout rounds for the first time, but they will have to catch the Irish on another off day as well as avoiding any nasty surprises against Russia and the USA.

Group matches:

11/9/11 v Australia (Auckland)

20/9/11 v Russia (Nelson)

27/9/11 v USA (Nelson)

2/10/11 v Ireland (Dunedin)

Eurosport

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