(Reuters) – Italy have brought in English-born lock Dino Lamb and prop Danilo Fischetti to their starting XV for the Rugby World Cup Pool A clash against Namibia in Saint-Etienne on Saturday, the only changes from their final warm-up win over Japan last month.
Coach Kieran Crowley has selected an otherwise settled side that sees Paolo Garbisi at flyhalf, Tommaso Allan in the fullback position and livewire wing Ange Capuozzo as part of an attacking backline selection.
Montanna Ioane, who scored a hat-trick of tries in the 42-21 victory over Japan, keeps his place, with loose forward Michele Lamaro to captain the side.
Lamb has replaced Niccolo Cannone, who is not in the match-day 23, while Fischetti comes in for Ivan Nemer. The latter has dropped to the bench.
Five of the team played against Namibia at the 2019 World Cup, where Italy ran out 47-22 in the first game of the tournament for both sides in Japan.
“We have prepared well for this match,” Crowley said. “There is energy in the team for our World Cup debut. The focus will be on our performance and the next match.
“We work step-by-step, showing the best version of ourselves.”
Hosts France, New Zealand and Uruguay are the other teams in Pool A.
Italy team: 15-Tommaso Allan, 14-Ange Capuozzo, 13-Juan Ignacio Brex, 12-Luca Morisi, 11-Montanna Ioane, 10-Paolo Garbisi, 9-Stephen Varney, 8-Lorenzo Cannone, 7-Michele Lamaro (captain), 6-Sebastian Negri, 5-Federico Ruzza, 4-Dino Lamb, 3-Simone Ferrari, 2-Giacomo Nicotera, 1-Danilo Fischetti
Replacements: 16-Hame Faiva, 17-Ivan Nemer, 18-Marco Riccioni, 19-David Sisi, 20-Manuel Zuliani, 21-Martin Page-Relo, 22-Paolo Odogwu, 23-Pierre Bruno.
(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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