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
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.
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)
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)
Scott Robertson appointed All Blacks Head Coach from 2024
Scott Robertson will become the All Blacks Head Coach from 2024.
The 48-year-old father of three was appointed following a robust interview process and will announce further key appointments to his coaching and management team in coming months before officially taking up his new role following the conclusion of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Robertson has been appointed for four years from 2024 through to the end of the 2027 Rugby World Cup and will succeed current All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster, who will lead the All Blacks through the conclusion of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. Robertson’s appointment was confirmed at an NZR Board Meeting on Tuesday morning.
“It’s an honour to be named as the next All Blacks Head Coach,” Robertson said. “It’s a job that comes with a huge amount of responsibility, but I’m excited by the opportunity to make a contribution to the legacy of the black jersey. To represent your country, as a coach or player, is the ultimate honour in sport and it’s humbling to be given that opportunity. I can’t wait.”
Robertson, who played 23 Tests for the All Blacks as a loose forward between 1998 and 2002, has compiled an impressive coaching resume. Following, retirement from the professional game in 2007 Robertson commenced his coaching career with the Sumner Rugby Club in Christchurch, before moving into an Assistant role with Canterbury in 2008 and then taking over as Head Coach in 2013, where he went on to win three Premiership titles between 2013 and 2016,. He has guided the Crusaders to six consecutive Super Rugby titles as Head Coach since 2017. Prior, to that he coached New Zealand U20s to a Junior World Championship crown, and most recently he coached the famous Barbarians FC to a win over the All Blacks XV last year.
“Having significant time to plan for 2024 and beyond is crucial to setting the All Blacks up for success during the next World Cup cycle. I have a job to do with the Crusaders and that will be my main focus through to the completion of DHL Super Rugby, but I will now have the opportunity to work with NZR to get some key appointments in my coaching and management team finalised, so we can hit the ground running next year.“
NZR Board Chair Dame Patsy Reddy said:
“We were very happy with the calibre and quality and quality of the people involved and would like to thank all of those who took part in the process. The decision to appoint the next All Blacks Head Coach ahead of the Rugby World Cup was not taken lightly, but we believe it was the right decision for New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks and will set the team up for future success.
“We congratulate Scott on his appointment and look forward to working together in 2024, but have also been clear that New Zealand Rugby’s full support this year will be focused on the current All Blacks coaching team as we look toward the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.”
NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said:
“I’d like to congratulate Scott on his appointment. His coaching record speaks for itself in terms of success, but what came through strongly during the interview process was his innovative approach to the game, his passion for his players, and his desire to add to the All Blacks legacy. We firmly believe he is the right person to lead the team in 2024 and beyond.”
BIO – Scott Robertson
As a player Robertson was capped 23 times in Tests for the All Blacks as a loose forward between 1998 and 2002. He made his debut against Australia in Christchurch in 1998 and was a member of the 1999 Rugby World Cup squad, playing in a 101-3 pool win over Italy. He moved into coaching with the Sumner Rugby Club and quickly transitioned into the Canterbury NPC environment where he was part of the team that won five titles between 2008 and 2012. Robertson was then elevated to Head Coach where he guided the team to three NPC Premiership titles between 2013-2016. Even greater success followed in Super Rugby, where he has guided the Crusaders to six consecutive Super Rugby titles as Head Coach since 2017. In 2015, the New Zealand Under 20s won the Junior World Championship title with Robertson as Head Coach, and last year coached the famous Barbarians FC to a win over the All Blacks XV.
England side to face Ireland in Six Nations
Captain Owen Farrell will start at fly half, Manu Tuilagi returns to the side at inside centre with Henry Slade at outside centre. There is a first England start for Henry Arundell on the left wing, Anthony Watson is at right wing, and Freddie Steward is full back.
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In the forward pack Lewis Ludlam is named vice-captain and is flanker alongside Jack Willis. Alex Dombrandt is at No. 8. In the same front row that has started each game of the championship, vice-captain Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler are at prop and Jamie George is at hooker. David Ribbans starts at lock with Maro Itoje.
Dan Cole is in line to make his 100th appearance for England after being named as replacement. Cole made his England debut in the Six Nations in February 2010. He has gone on to play in three Rugby World Cups and has won three Guinness Six Nations titles.
Nick Isiekwe and Joe Marchant return to the bench, along with Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Ben Curry, Alex Mitchell and Marcus Smith.
“We travel to Dublin to face an Ireland team on Saturday that has the chance to secure a Grand Slam Championship victory at home for the first time” said Borthwick.
“We know that after the bitter disappointment of the display against an exceptional France team last week, we will have to be much improved to meet the challenge of playing the side presently ranked number one in the world.
“However, I have witnessed an England squad determined to make amends for the defeat at Twickenham, and I am confident that the team announced today will once again want to show the sort of resilience and attitude that brought us victory in Wales.”
Team to face Ireland
15. Freddie Steward
14. Anthony Watson
13. Henry Slade
12. Manu Tuilagi
11. Henry Arundell
10. Owen Farrell (C)
1. Ellis Genge (VC)
2. Jamie George
4. Maro Itoje
6. Lewis Ludlam (VC)
7. Jack Willis
16. Jack Walker
17. Mako Vunipola
18. Dan Cole
19. Nick Isiekwe
20. Ben Curry
21. Alex Mitchell
22. Marcus Smith
23. Joe Marchant
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Ireland Squad Named For Guinness Six Nations Super Saturday
Ireland will take on England at a sold-out Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening (Kick-off 5pm) for the chance to claim the Guinness Six Nations Championship title, the Triple Crown and a fourth Men’s Grand Slam title.
World Player of the Year Josh van der Flier will win his 50th cap on Saturday. He lines out in an unchanged back row as Caelan Doris is named to start alongside him and Peter O’Mahony.
In the front row, Dan Sheehan has been passed fit and will start with Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong on either side of the scrum. Rob Herring comes in on the bench in place of Ronan Kelleher.
Ryan Baird, who came on for the injured Iain Henderson in Scotland, will partner James Ryan in the second row with Kieran Treadwell named in the replacements.
Captain Johnny Sexton will be partnered at half-back by Jamison Gibson Park and Robbie Henshaw comes into the centre to play alongside Bundee Aki. The back three of Hugo Keenan, Mack Hansen and James Lowe start for a fifth consecutive Six Nations fixture.
Sexton equalled Ronan O’Gara’s Six Nations Championship all-time points scorer record (557 points) against Scotland and can become the outright top points scorer against England this weekend.
Jimmy O’Brien come into the match day 23 to join Cian Healy, Tom O’Toole, Jack Conan, Conor Murray and Ross Byrne who all featured last weekend in Murrayfield.
Ireland’s final game of the Championship will be broadcast live on VIRGIN and ITV television and RTE and BBCNI radio.
IRELAND Team (v England, 2023 Guinness Six Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Saturday 18th March, 2023, KO 17.00 (IST))
15. Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 29 caps
14. Mack Hansen (Connacht/Corinthians) 13 caps
13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 61 caps
12. Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 45 caps
11. James Lowe (Leinster) 19 caps
10. Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 112 caps (c)
9. Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 24 caps
1. Andrew Porter (Leinster/UCD) 52 caps
2. Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 16 caps
3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 64 caps
4. Ryan Baird (Leinster/Dublin University) 10 caps
5. James Ryan (Leinster/UCD) 52 caps
6. Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 93 caps
7. Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 49 caps
8. Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 27 caps
16. Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 33 caps
17. Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 122 caps
18. Tom O’Toole (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 8 caps
19. Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena) 10 caps
20. Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 37 caps
21. Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 104 caps
22. Ross Byrne (Leinster/UCD) 18 caps
23. Jimmy O’Brien (Leinster/Naas) 4 caps
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
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