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Minozzi Returns to Italy Squad

Italy’s World Cup warm-up campaign is looking a lot brighter after long-term absentee Matteo Minozzi has returned to action

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(Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)

Italy’s 2018 break-through star Matteo Minozzi has been named in the nations squad for their upcoming warm-up games against Ireland and Russia.

It comes as much-needed good news for the Italians who confirmed star centre Tommaso Castello would miss the World Cup earlier in the week. 

Minozzi returns following almost a whole season on the side-lines following a ruptured ACL while playing for Zebre last year. This was after he made a massive impression in the 2018 Six Nations where he was nominated for player of the tournament, scoring four tries across the five games.

His talent and room for improvement saw Wasps swoop in and sign him, however, he has been unable to play a single game for them this campaign due to the injury.

Speaking in June the full-back discussed his goal was to be back in time to help his country at the World Cup in Japan, but it was proving a tough task.

“My objective was to be back for this but I had no idea if I would make it. It was a really hard journey, and it’s new for me. I’d got to the level I achieved up to then thanks to my talent but I’d never had to work as hard, to take as much care of myself,” he said.

As well as Minozzi’s return there are call-ups for three uncapped players in Benetton front-rows Marco Riccioni and Engjel Makelara along with Gloucester scrum-half Callum Braley, who qualifies to represent the Azzurri due to his grandparents.

Makelara has been included due to the absence of centurion Leonardo Ghiraldini, who has been out injured since rupturing his knee ligaments in March but is trying to make it back for the World Cup.

Head coach Conor O’Shea is looking forward to testing his side in the coming weeks and noted how hard it will be for Minozzi to come straight back in to test rugby.

“These matches are crucial for achieving the objectives that we set ourselves for the Rugby World Cup,” Italy coach Conor O’Shea said of the upcoming fixtures. It is not an easy task for any player to start the season with a test match, but it is the challenge that all teams are facing. The boys have worked incredibly hard in the summer and now are ready for the matches,” he said.

The Azzurri start their warm-up games against Ireland next Saturday, August 10th, before playing Russia a week later, after which the squad will be reassessed and announced for their final matches before heading to Japan for the World Cup.

Check Out the Full Squad Below.

Forwards:

Simone Ferrari (Benetton Rugby, 22 caps)

Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby Club, 34 caps)

Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton Rugby, 18 caps)

Nicola Quaglio (Benetton Rugby, 9 caps)

Marco Riccioni (Benetton Rugby, 0 caps)

Federico Zani (Benetton Rugby 7 caps)

Luca Bigi (Zebre Rugby Club, 19 caps)

Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre Rugby Club, 7 caps)

Engjel Makelara (Benetton Rugby, 0 caps)

Dean Budd (Benetton Rugby, 20 caps)

Marco Lazzaroni (Benetton Rugby, 3 caps)

Federico Ruzza (Benetton Rugby, 12 caps)

David Sisi (Zebre Rugby Club, 5 caps)

Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Rugby, 111 caps)

Renato Giammarioli (Zebre Rugby Club, 3 caps)

Giovanni Licata (Zebre Rugby Club, 7 caps)

Maxime Mbanda (Zebre Rugby Club, 16 caps)

Sebastian Negri (Benetton Rugby, 16 caps)

Sergio Parisse (Tolone, 138 caps)

Jake Polledri (Gloucester, 8 caps)

Abraham Steyn (Benetton Rugby, 30 caps)

Jimmy Tuivaiti (Zebre Rugby Club, 3 caps)

Backs:

Callum Braley (Gloucester, 0 caps)

Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre Rugby Club, 31 caps)

Tito Tebaldi (Benetton Rugby, 32 caps)

Tommaso Allan (Benetton Rugby, 48 caps)

Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby Club, 32 caps)

Ian McKinley (Benetton Rugby, 8 caps)

Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Rugby, 56 caps)

Michele Campagnaro (Harlequins, 42 caps)

Luca Morisi (Benetton Rugby, 25 caps)

Marco Zanon (Benetton Rugby, 1 cap)

Mattia Bellini (Zebre Rugby Club, 17 caps)

Giulio Bisegni (Zebre Rugby Club, 11 caps)

Angelo Esposito (Benetton Rugby, 20 caps)

Jayden Hayward (Benetton Rugby, 17 caps)

Matteo Minozzi (Wasps, 10 caps)

Edoardo Padovani (Zebre Rugby Club, 20 caps)

6 Nations

Munster Announce Six More Contract Extensions

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to announce that six players have signed contract extensions at the province.

Diarmuid Barron, Jack Daly, Ben Healy, Keynan Knox, Jeremy Loughman and Simon Zebo have all put pen to paper on new contracts.

Hooker Diarmuid Barron has signed a new two-year contract having made 20 appearances for Munster to date, including his Champions Cup debut against Castres last month.

The 23-year-old Tipperary native is a product of Cashel RFC and Rockwell College and has also lined out for Garryowen in the AIL, he was promoted from the Greencore Munster Academy to the senior squad last season.

Castleisland RFC flanker Jack Daly has signed a two-year contract extension having made four appearances for the province to date.

A Garryowen clubman, Daly is a former Ireland U20s international and has made two appearances so far this term having moved up to the senior squad from the Academy last summer.

Ben Healy lines up a place-kick earlier in the season for Munster ©INPHO/Ashley Crowden

Ben Healy has signed a one-year contract extension with the 22-year-old Tipperary out-half scoring 144 points in 27 Munster appearances to date.

A product of Nenagh Ormond and Glenstal Abbey, Healy has also lined out for Garryowen in the AIL and is enjoying a strong first year in the senior squad having won the province’s Greencore Academy Player of the Year award last season.

Loosehead prop Jeremy Loughman has signed a new two-year deal having scored four tries in 57 Munster appearances.

Loughman initially joined Munster from the Leinster Academy on a short-term contract in December 2017 but quickly established himself as a key squad member and made his 50th appearance against Ulster last year.

Tighthead prop Keynan Knox has signed on for two more years at Munster having scored two tries in 20 appearances for the province.

The 22-year-old South Africa native moved to Munster at the end of 2017 with the Young Munster clubman spending three years in the Academy before moving up to the senior squad last season.

Munster’s all-time leading try-scorer with 62 tries, Simon Zebo has signed a new two-year deal having scored two tries in four appearances since returning to the province from Racing 92 last summer.

The Ireland international and former British & Irish Lion is a product of the Academy and has made 148 Munster appearances since his debut in 2010.

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6 Nations

Six Munster Players Sign Contract Extensions

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm that Joey Carbery, Liam Coombes, Chris Farrell, Jean Kleyn, Jack O’Sullivan, and Greencore Munster Rugby Academy player and Alex Kendellen have all put pen to paper on new contracts. 

The six players have signed two-year contract extensions that will see them remain with the province until at least June 2024.

Since joining the squad in 2018 Ireland international Carbery has made 30 appearances in red, scoring 264 points.

During this time, the out-half has been unlucky with injuries but has returned to show his quality on each occasion and while he is currently sidelined with an elbow injury, it’s a huge boost to have a player of his calibre commit to the province.

With four tries in 10 appearances, Coombes has shown his quality and versatility since moving up to the senior squad from the Academy in 2020.

A product of Skibbereen and CBC, 24-year-old Coombes plays his Energia AIL rugby with Garryowen and has lined out on the wing and outside centre for the province.

In his second year of the academy, 20-year-old Alex Kendellen will advance to the senior ranks ahead of the 2022/23 season.

A product of PBC, the UCC back-row forward has made four appearances to date with his first start coming against Connacht in the United Rugby Championship last weekend.

Kendellen, who captained the Ireland U-20s last year, was one of the stand out performers at the U20 Six Nations Championship held in Wales in June 2021.

Ireland international centre Chris Farrell has scored eight tries in 52 Munster appearances since making his debut in September 2017.

Farrell has earned 15 international caps since moving to Munster from Grenoble and has been an ever-present for the province since returning from an abdomen injury last month.

Ireland international lock Kleyn is closing in on a century of Munster appearances, scoring 12 tries in 97 games since joining from the DHL Stormers in 2016.

Kleyn has been one of the province’s most consistent performers over recent seasons and is currently sidelined with a knee injury.

Back-row forward O’Sullivan has scored two tries in 21 Munster appearances since making his debut in 2019.

A product of PBC, the 23-year-old UCC clubman made his Champions Cup debut in January 2020 and made 10 appearances last year after graduating from the Academy.

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

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6 Nations

Garry Ringrose Signs New Three Year IRFU Contract

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Image Credit - @IrishRugby Twitter

Ireland centre Garry Ringrose has signed a three year IRFU contract which will see him continue to play with Leinster until the end of the 2024/25 season.

Garry started all three of Ireland’s Autumn Nations Series fixtures having missed the summer Tests through injury.  Garry made his Ireland debut against Canada in the 2016 Guinness November Series and has since represented his country on 37 occasions scoring 10 tries.

Garry Ringrose in action against New Zealand in the recent Autumn Nations Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin 13/11/2021

A grand slam winner in 2018 Garry also starred on the summer tour of Australia and started four or Ireland’s Rugby World Cup fixtures in Japan in 2019.

The former Ireland U20 has made 90 senior appearances for Leinster scoring 28 tries and has won a European Champions Cup (2018) and four PRO rugby titles (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021) with his province.

IRFU High Performance Director, David Nucifora commented,

“Garry has had a tough road with injuries since the World Cup in Japan but he is a top international player who delivers big performances for Ireland and Leinster.   He will be an influential figure at both national and provincial level over the coming years.”

Garry Ringrose commented, “Delighted to sign for another three years. It is an exciting time to be involved with Leinster and Ireland. Both squads have ambition to be competing for silverware every year and I’m motivated to do whatever I can to contribute”

Source – Irish Rugby

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