Italy was dealt a blow before the Rugby World Cup with the news of skipper Sergio Parisse’s injury. Parisse fought hard to make himself available for selection and duly did so against Ireland last weekend. However Azzurri head coach Jacques Brunel has been forced to go without his captain for Sunday’s crucial clash against Romania.
The Italians must win in order to qualify for Japan 2019 automatically. The Romanians find themselves in the same situation and will no doubt be up for the possibility of causing a big upset in England. Brunel says: ‘Given the unavailability of Sergio we have made the decision to deploy Alessandro Zanni at eight because he has already played this role. Against Ireland we had some problems but it is also right to give him the opportunity to see how he handles at this level and to gain experience. We have (Samuela) Vunisa on the bench who can play at eight or flank if needed. Mauro Bergamasco can also play at flank. We made a technical decision, not a choice of the heart, to give ourselves the best chance to win this game. Mauro has already achieved an extraordinary goal by participating in his fifth Rugby World Cup by taking the field against Canada and Ireland.’
Bergamasco has not been included in the match day squad for Italy on this occasion. Azzurri manager Luigi Troiani says: ‘(Leonardo) Ghiraldini has not recovered from the thigh muscle injury suffered against Canada. It is necessary that those who go onto the field on Sunday are 100% fit. There will be many young players, especially among the backs, and for them it is an opportunity to gain experience and play their best rugby. As for Mauro, I agree with the decision of Jacques to deploy what he considers the best possible selection for the match. I had the privilege to play with him in four World Championships and many of my fondest memories with the national team I’ve lived with him. He deserves all the accolades.’
Manager Luigi Troiani