Italy ring changes for Ireland clash

ITALY manager Pierre Berbizier has made seven changes for tomorrow’s World Cup warm-up match against Ireland.

Ramiro Pez is ruled out by a shoulder injury so Roland De Marigny is named at fly-half for the game in Belfast.

Matteo Pratichetti is selected at wing instead of Marko Stanojevic who scored two tries in the 36-12 win over Japan.

The five changes in the forwards see Robert Barbieri, Fabio Ongaro, Alessandro Zanni, Salvatore Perugin and Valerio Bernabo coming into the team.

In the back-row, Barbieri and Zanni will pack down alongside Sergio Parisse in place of Josh Sole and Mauro Bergamasco.

Hooker Fabio Ongaro and tight-head prop Salvatore Perugini come in for Carlo Festuccia and Andrea Lo Cicero while the side will be captained by lock Marco Bortolami, who is partnered by Valerio Bernabo instead of Santiago Dellape.

Italy, who start their World Cup Pool C campaign against New Zealand in Marseille on 8 September, have yet to name a replacement for unfit Fabio Staibano in their 30-man squad.

Argentina centre Martin Gaitan has been discharged from University of Wales hospital where he was receiving treatment for a heart problem that has forced him to miss the World Cup.

The Biarritz star was admitted on Saturday night after fainting and suffering chest pains following the Pumas’ 27-20 defeat to Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

Doctors at the hospital discovered that one of the player’s arteries was blocked and performed a successful procedure to dilate it.

Despite speculation that the problem could force his retirement from rugby, the player is now just focusing on his recovery.

“That’s not important. I am alive. Whatever comes from now on will be for free,” he added

Pumas head coach Marcelo Loffreda chose not to comment on Gaitan’s place in the World Cup squad while the player was in hospital but yesterday announced Hindu centre Hernan Senillosa would replace him in the squad. Meanwhile Leicester have signed former France international scrum-half Christophe Laussucq. The 34-year-old will link up with Tigers from Castres, having featured in last Saturday’s Welford Road friendly against Nottingham.

Laussucq made three Test appearances, including starts against Scotland and Ireland during the 2000 Six Nations tournament.

He was also part of the Stade Francais squad that won two French Championship titles.

ITALY (v Ireland): D Bortolussi; K Robertson, G Canale, M Bergamasco, M Pratichetti; R De Marigny, A Troncon; S Parisse, R Barbieri, A Zanni; M Bortolami (capt), V Bernabo; M Castrogiovanni, F Ongaro, S Perugini.

Replacements: L Ghiraldini, M Aguero, J Sole, M Vosawai, P Griffen, P Canavosio, E Galon.

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