Source: 6 Nations

Italy’s squad to face Wales

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In stark contrast to John Mitchell’s approach, Nanni Raineri has already announced just 24 players to play Wales in the last round of the Six Nations.

They are:

Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi, Aura Muzzo, Alyssa D’Incа, Beatrice Rigoni, Francesca Granzotto, Veronica Madia, Sofia Stefan, Silvia Turani, Vittoria Vecchini, Sara Seye, Sara Tounesi, Giordana Duca, Ilaria Arrighetti. Francesca Sgorbini, Elisa Giordano, Emma Stevanin, Laura Gurioli, Gaia Maris, Lucia Gai, Valeria Fedrighi, Isabella Locatelli, Beatrice Veronese, Beatrice Capomaggi, Alessia Pilani

This means that last week’s debutant, Sara Mannini, has to wait her turn again. But as she was the youngest player of all to appear in the Championship, she has time on her side. Her place is taken by the returning Emma Stevanin.

Two signal honors await players: so long as the coaches don’t forget themselves (she’s appeared on the bench thus far), Lucia Gai can look forward to a meritorious 100th cap, still a great rarity in the front-row union’s history books. The other comes to Beatrice Rigoni, as she reaches three- quarters of a century.

For the Azzurre, the schedule could hardly have worked out better. They are desperate to take that vital third place; they are left to face winless Wales. The only remainig doubts are: it’s an away game; it’s to be played in the magnificence of the Principality Stadium; and – you never can tell!

All Wales must be hoping that their team can sort themselves out, take inspiration from the setting and play as well as everyone knows they can. But it has to be admitted that local comments have been loud and long in their criticism.

It’s the coaching staff who have most to lose; they can be replaced. Quality players are much harder to find, so cannot be easily discarded.

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