Martedì, 23 Ottobre 2018

Rugby: Lo Cicero in Italy XV for likely swansong


(By Paul Virgo)
Rome, March 14 - Andrea Lo Cicero has returned to
Italy's starting line-up for Saturday's Six Nations match
against Ireland in Rome, which is likely to be the 36-year-old
prop's last international game.
The popular Sicilian, who is nicknamed 'Il Barone' (the
baron) because his family has noble roots, is expected to
announce his retirement from international rugby after
Saturday's match.
There is speculation that the forward, who plays club rugby
in France for Paris side Racing Metro 92, may quit the sport all
He returns to the starting XV after coming on as a
replacement in last week's 18-11 defeat in England to make his
102nd international appearance and become the Azzurri's all-time
most capped player.
He made his first appearance for the national team against
England in Italy's debut Six Nations campaign in 2000.
Lo Cicero replaces Alberto De Marchi in one of three
changes coach Jacques Brunel has made to his side.
The other two were enforced by injury.
Lorenzo Cittadini comes in for prop Martin Castrogiovanni,
who limped off against England with a muscle strain, and
openside flanker Simone Favaro takes over from Robert Barbieri,
who also suffered a knock at Twickenham.
Italy need to beat Ireland to be sure to avoid finishing
They will be buoyed by their strong performance in London,
where they gave Grand Slam-chasing England a nasty scare, after
disappointing defeats to Wales and Scotland.
"Our challenge is to find consistency, continuity," said
Brunel, whose side are fifth in the table with the two points
they earned by stunning France 23-18 on the opening day.
"After France we struggled against Scotland (the week
after). Now we're coming off the back of a good game at
Twickenham. Let's hope we can play at the same level again.
"The assessment we can give of our Six Nations will depend
a great deal on the game against Ireland, from the result and
the performance that we give".
Ireland have not had a good campaign. They are only one
point ahead of Italy after beating Wales and drawing 13-13 with
France in Dublin last weekend.
But Brunel is still wary of the Irish, who hammered his men
42-10 last year.
"We played well in the first half last year in Dublin and
at half time we were in the match, but in the second half we
conceded two tries in a few minutes and we ended up with a heavy
defeat," the coach said.
"I remember that defeat and on Saturday it'll be just as
"Ireland have a well organised defence and they know how to
score. They are certainly opponents with very few weaknesses".
The Azzurri have never beaten Ireland in the Six Nations
although they did notch three wins over them before they entered
the tournament in 2000.
Italy: Andrea Masi, Giovanbattista Venditti, Gonzalo
Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Luke McLean, Luciano Orquera, Edoardo
Gori; Sergio Parisse (capt), Simone Favaro, Alessandro Zanni,
Joshua Furno, Quintin Geldenhuys, Leonardo Cittadini, Leonardo
Ghiraldini, Andrea Lo Cicero.
Replacements: Davide Giazzon, Michele Rizzo, Alberto De
Marchi, Antonio Pavanello, Francesco Minto, Paul Derbyshire,
Tobias Botes, Tommaso Benvenuti.

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