With just over a month to go before the historic Test match between two elite European sides Italy and Scotland takes place at Singapore’s National Stadium, both sides have announced strong squads for the match.
Italy have announced a 31 man squad with four uncapped players
Italy head coach Conor O’Shea has announced a 31-man Italy squad to face Scotland in Singapore on 10 June, as well as for Fiji in Suva on 17 June and the Qantas Wallabies in Brisbane on 24 June.
The Azzurri have picked four uncapped players, all forwards, including tightwad prop Tizaino Pasquali, hooker Luca Bibi and lock Dean Budd from PRO12 side Benetton Treviso. Joining them will be Luhandre Luus, the only uncapped player playing club rugby in Italy for Pataro Calvisano.
Making a comeback will be Benetton Treviso’s tighthead prop Simone Ferrari, alongside club mates Robert Barbieri and veteran scrum half Tito Tebaldi.
Said O’Shea, “We can’t wait to take to the field in Singapore. This is a new and thrilling challenge for Italy in the Test arena. There is a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes to prepare this group for the challenges ahead.”
He added “We are also making changes within our system and we feel this will benefit Italian rugby both in the short and long term but nobody is under any illusions about the task ahead. The goal of this tour is to ensure we execute and start taking the opportunities that we have had. Once we start doing that, and playing with the intensity and focus that we aspire to do, then we will become the team that we and our supporters desire.”
Scotland have three uncapped players in their 34-man squad
Scotland’s Gregor Townsend, on the other hand, named three uncapped players in his 34 man squad for his side’s three test summer tour. These are Glasgow Warriors’ centre Nick Grigg, prop D’Arcy Rae and Edinburgh Rugby hooker George Turner.
Pete Horne and Willem Nel also return from injury and there are notable recalls for Glasgow Warriors winger Lee Jones, Harlequins back Ruaridh Jackson and Edinburgh Rugby scrum half Sam Hidargo-Clyne.
Said Townsend, “It’s exciting to be able to play in a unique stadium and the fact that it will be Scotland’s first international there will make for a great occasion. I have not been to Singapore before but I know several players are looking forward to not just the stadium but the island as a whole having heard so many good things about it.”
He added “Playing Italy in Singapore will be a different prospect to taking them on in Edinburgh or Rome and it will be a challenge for both teams to adapt to the new surroundings. Italy are a team we know well and we can expect it to be a competitive match. It will give us the ideal chance to get our game in place on the way to playing Australia and Fiji as part of our summer tour.”
Singapore welcomed the squad announcements
President of the Singapore Rugby Union, Low Teo Ping, welcomed the squad announcements. He said, “While Italy sit ten placed below Scotland’s fifth in the World Rugby international rankings, both sides are equally bullish about their prospects.”
He added “This first ever Rugby Union Test match in Singapore promises to be a titanic tussle between two top tier teams and this is by far the biggest single night of international rugby that fans in Asia can hope to see. To make it an evening to remember, there will also be top class live entertainment on offer, plus food and beverages with an Italian twist and a Scottish flavour to keep fans engaged.”
The complete squad lists are as follows:
- Props: Pietro Ceccarelli (Zebre Rugby, 7 caps), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby, 14 caps), Simone Ferrari (Benetton Treviso, 2 caps), Sami Panico (Patarò Calvisano, 10 caps), Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton Treviso, uncapped);
- Hookers: Luca Bigi (Benetton Treviso, uncapped), Ornel Gega (Benetton Treviso, 12 caps), Luhandre Luus (Patarò Calvisano, uncapped);
- Locks: George Fabio Biagi (Zebre Rugby, 19 caps); Dean Budd (Benetton Treviso, uncapped), Marco Fuser (Benetton Treviso, 21 caps), Federico Ruzza (Zebre Rugby, 1 cap), Andries Van Schalkwyk (Zebre Rugby, 12 caps):
- Flanker/n.8s: Robert Julian Barbieri (Benetton Treviso, 40 caps), Maxime Mbanda’ (Zebre Rugby, 8 caps), Francesco Minto (Benetton Treviso, 33 caps), Abraham Jurgen Steyn (Benetton Treviso, 11 caps);
- Scrum-halves: Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso, 61 caps), Tito Tebaldi (Benetton Treviso, 20 caps), Marcello Violi (Zebre Rugby, 3 caps);
- Fly-halves: Tommaso Allan (Benetton Treviso, 30 caps), Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby, 20 caps);
- Centres: Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Treviso, 42 caps), Tommaso Boni (Zebre Rugby, 2 caps), Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps);
- Wingers: Giulio Bisegni (Zebre Rugby, 7 caps), Angelo Esposito (Benetton Treviso, 11 caps), Leonardo Sarto (Glasgow Warriors, 30 caps), Giovanbattista Venditti (Zebre Rugby, 42 caps);
- Full-backs: Edoardo Padovani (Zebre Rugby, 11 caps), Luca Sperandio (Benetton Treviso, 2 caps).
SCOTLAND (34) :
- Props: Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors, 3 caps), Allan Dell (Edinburgh Rugby, 8 caps), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, 9 caps), Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby, 15 caps), D’Arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors, uncapped), Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors, 24 caps);
- Hookers:Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors, 25 caps), Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby, 107 caps), George Turner (Edinburgh Rugby, uncapped);
- Second-row: Richie Gray (Toulouse, 64 caps), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors, 33 caps), Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors, 29 caps), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby, 1 cap);
- Back–row: CAPTAIN John Barclay (Scarlets, 60 caps), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby, 1 cap), John Hardie (Edinburgh Rugby, 15 caps), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors, 19 caps), Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors, 11 caps), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, 10 caps), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors, 27 caps);
- Scrum-halves: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby, 9 caps), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, 5 caps), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors, 21 caps);
- Stand-offs: Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors, 23 caps), Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors, 27 caps);
- Centres: Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors, 24 caps), Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors, uncapped), Matt Scott (Gloucester, 37 caps), Duncan Taylor (Saracens, 18 caps);
- Back-threes: Damien Hoyland (Edinburgh Rugby, 2 caps), Ruaridh Jackson (Harlequins, 30 caps), Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors, 4 caps), Sean Maitland (Saracens, 28 caps), Tim Visser (Harlequins, 31 caps).
Buy Your Tickets
Tickets are available and these are priced at $80 for the Premium Category, $50 for Category 1 and $20 for Category 2. Youth and Child tickets are also available. Booking fees apply.
Buy your tickets at http://www.sportshub.com.sg/ITAvSCO.
All Photos are courtesy of Singapore Rugby Union.