ROME (Reuters) - Italy have named former England junior international scrumhalf Callum Braley as one of three uncapped players in a 38-man squad for the Rugby World Cup warm-up matches against Ireland and Russia.
The Gloucester number nine will vie with Guglielmo Palazzani and Tito Tebaldi for a place in the side as he looks to secure a ticket to Japan next month.
Braley, who qualifies through his Italian grandfather, was called-up during this year’s Six Nations, but did not play.
Other newcomers are Benneton Rugby prop Marco Riccioni, 21, and his club mate, hooker Engjel Makelara, 22, while the squad will be captained by experienced loose-forward Sergio Parisse.
Players not considered because of injury include 104-cap hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini, who ruptured knee ligaments in March but is still hopeful of proving his fitness for the World Cup.
“These matches are crucial for achieving the objectives that we set ourselves for the Rugby World Cup,” Italy coach Conor O’Shea told the Italian federation’s website federugby.it.
“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.”
Italy travel to Ireland on Aug. 10, before hosting Russia a week later. They also have warm-up matches against France (Aug. 30) and England (Sept. 6), before opening their World Cup campaign against Namibia on Sept. 22.
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)
Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge