The Irish coach recalled Sergio Parisse as tests against New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga await
Conor O'Shea has recalled captain Sergio Parisse as he named his squad for the upcoming November tests against New Zealand, South Africa and Tonga.
Still in the early stages of his reign as coach, the Irish man has turned to experience, recalling Parisse (119 caps) as well as Leonardo Ghiraldini and Alessandro Zanni, two other veterans who have 180 caps between them.
O'Shea said in a statement on Tuesday that: "20 of the 30 selected players played in the summer tour, and that will give us solidity, but we'll also rediscover some big names who will give us energy.
"These are three big challenges awaiting us in November and we live for moments like these. I know this team has the right qualities to make Italian rugby proud."
O'Shea started his time in charge of the Italian team with a tour of the Americas over the summer, which featured wins over USA and Canada, and a loss to Argentina.
Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer
O'Shea has also looked to shuffle the pack by bringing in some untested talent in the form of three uncapped players: Simone Ferrari, Andrea Buondonno and Giorgio Bronzini.
It had been rumoured last month that O'Shea was also looking at trying to tempt Saracens' Alex Lozowski to the Italy team as he was qualified to represent the country, but his plans were scuppered when Eddie Jones named the fly-half in his squad for autumn training.
The player himself also poured cold water on the idea, saying: "I've lived in England my whole life and playing for England would be the ultimate — it’s what I dreamed of.
"I don’t want to slam the Italy door shut but, at this stage, I don’t want to rule myself out for England. I’m under no illusions because it’s clear England have a great bunch of young fly-halves."
However, it's likely that O'Shea will still be looking around to find players who can qualify for Italy as he beings his quest to change the setup of the Federazione Italiana Rugby.