ROME (AP) Italy coach Conor O’Shea has made four changes to his team for Sunday’s Six Nations match against England at Twickenham.
Exeter center Michele Campagnaro has been handed his first start of this year’s tournament and will partner Luke McLean, while Giulio Bisegni returns on the right wing in place of Angelo Esposito.
Benetton Treviso flyhalf Tommaso Allan starts for the first time since June.
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O’Shea has stuck with the majority of his pack but has brought in flanker Abraham Steyn to replace Maxime Mbanda alongside Simone Favaro and long-standing captain Sergio Parisse, who will extend his record to 124 appearances for the Azzurri.
Italy was routed 63-10 by Ireland in its last match. It lost its opener to Wales 33-7, despite leading 7-3 at halftime.
England is the only European team Italy has never beaten but O’Shea is relishing the Twickenham test.
”It’s a great challenge for any team, for any player,” he said Wednesday. ”After the first 40 minutes of the Six Nations, after the first half against Wales, our team was in a good position and then the final 20 minus was very difficult.
”I don’t think the results have been reflective of our performances. The results have been difficult to take. One of the big things for us to change is our mentality. We need to stop feeling sorry for ourselves in games and focus on our performance.”
Italy: Edoardo Padovani, Giulio Bisegni, Michele Campagnaro, Luke McLean, Giovanbattista Venditti, Tommaso Allan, Edoardo Gori; Sergio Parisse (captain), Simone Favaro, Abraham Steyn, Andries van Schalkwyk, Marco Fuser, Lorenzo Cittadini, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Andrea Lovotti. Reserves: Ornel Gega, Michele Rizzo, Pietro Ceccarelli, George Biagi, Maxime Mbanda, Giorgio Bronzini, Carlo Canna, Tommaso Benvenuti.