Wed, 27 Jan 2021

Ioane to make Italy debut against Wales

News24
04 Dec 2020, 05:43 GMT+10

Australian-born wing Montanna 'Monty' Ioane will make his Italy debut against Wales in the Autumn Nations Cup in Llanelli this weekend, head coach Franco Smith announced on Thursday.

The 26-year-old gained eligibility to play for the Azzurri this month after three years playing with Benetton Treviso.

Ioane arrived in Europe thanks to his uncle Digby, a former Australian international with whom he played alongside for two years at Stade Francais from 2013 to 2015.

Ioane has been included in the Italy training group since last summer, awaiting eligibility to play.

Smith has made three changes to the side which lost 36-5 to France last time out.

Gloucester scrumhalf Stephen Varney will start against the country of his birth.

The 19-year-old qualifies for Italy through his mother and is set to earn his third cap.

Varney comes in for Marcello Violi, playing alongside 20-year-old flyhalf Paolo Garbisi.

"We want to end the tournament in the best possible way," said Smith.

"We have a new opportunity to be able to take to the field and try to show our worth.

"Wales are an experienced team and need no introduction. The focus must be on our performance."

Italy lost 28-17 to Scotland in Rome and 36-5 to France in Paris.

Their game against Fiji was cancelled after 29 members of the South Sea islanders' squad tested positive for coronavirus.

Italy

15 Jacopo Trulla; 14 Luca Sperandio, 13 Marco Zanon, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Montanna Ioane; 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney; 8 Braam Steyn, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbanda, 5 Niccol Cannone, 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 3 Giosue Zilocchi, 2 Luca Bigi (captain), 1 Danilo Fischetti

Substitutes: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Simone Ferrari, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Cristian Stoian, 20 Michele Lamaro, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Federico Mori

Coach: Franco Smith (RSA)

Source: News24

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