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Neil Treacy
Neil Treacy

13.42 19 Aug 2019


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There was disappointment for Irish out-half Ian McKinley at the weekend after he was left out of the Italy squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Conor O'Shea has named his 31-man squad yesterday, following Saturday's after the 13-try 85-15 win against Russia.

O'Shea has opted to bring two out-halves to the tournament, with McKinley missing out behind Benetton clubmate Tomasso Allan, and Zebre's Carlo Canna.

The former Leinster half-back has featured 9 times for Italy since 2017, after qualifying under residency rules, however he is still yet to start a test match.

Captain Sergio Parisse has been selected to play at his fifth Rugby World Cup, equaling the record set by his countryman Mauro Bergamasco, and Samoa's Brian Lima.

There will be fourth World Cup journeys for both Leonardo Ghiraldini and Alessandro Zanni, and head coach Conor O'Shea is hoping the trio can bow out of international rugby by making Italian rugby history.

"Leo, together with Parisse and Zanni, are playing the last matches in the Italy shirt of their extraordinary careers.

"We want to make their dreams come true and we have the cards to be able to succeed.

"Choosing the 31 players for the Rugby World Cup and talking to those who will not continue the adventure with us, was probably the hardest thing I have done since I’ve been in the rugby world," O'Shea said.

Despite going up against both the All Blacks and Rugby Championship winners South Africa, O'Shea believes they can spring a shock in Japan, just as they did against the Springboks in 2016, early in the Irishman' tenure.

"At the World Cup, we must absolutely win against Namibia and Canada and then focus on the other two big challenges we have.

"I believe that against South Africa, with this team, we can create an opportunity on our day."

The Italians will play two more World Cup warm-up matches against France on 30 August and England on 6 September, before they open their campaign against the Namibians in Osaka on 22 September.

Italy squad in full:

Forwards

Simone Ferrari (Benetton), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre), Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton), Nicola Quaglio (Benetton), Marco Riccioni (Benetton), Federico Zani (Benetton), Luca Bigi (Zebre), Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre), Leonardo Ghiraldini (without team), Dean Budd (Benetton), Federico Ruzza (Benetton), David Sisi (Zebre), Alessandro Zanni (Benetton), Maxime Mbanda (Zebre), Sebastian Negri (Benetton), Sergio Parisse (Toulon - capt), Jake Polledri (Gloucester), Abraham Steyn (Benetton)

Backs:

Callum Braley (Gloucester), Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre), Tito Tebaldi (Benetton), Tommaso Allan (Benetton), Carlo Canna (Zebre), Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton), Michele Campagnaro (Harlequins), Luca Morisi (Benetton), Mattia Bellini (Zebre), Giulio Bisegni (Zebre), Jayden Hayward (Benetton), Matteo Minozzi (Wasps), Edoardo Padovani (Zebre)

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