Italy’s South African coach Nick Mallett on Monday named an inexperienced 24-man squad for their tour to his homeland and Argentina next month.
Italy play world champions South Africa in Cape Town on June 21 and a week later they face world No.3 Argentina in Cordoba.
Rugby 365 reports there was no place for stalwarts such as Gloucester captain Marco Bortolami, Italian captain Sergio Parisse of Stade Francais, Clermont centre Gonzalo Canale or Stade Francais pair the Bergamasco brothers Mauro and Mirco.
There was also no place for Italy’s best three props – Martin Castrogiovanni of Leicester, Andrea Lo Cicero of Racing Metro and Salvatore Perugini of Toulouse – as Mallett was forced to pick an experimental squad with the view to giving fringe players vital international experience.
“It’s an extremely difficult tour, there’s no point denying it, but our objectives are nevertheless very clear,” said Mallett.
“We have to do without at least eight or nine first choice players who are either injured or still involved with their clubs so we will take advantage of this international window to experiment.
“We will evaluate some young players and give them the opportunity to test themselves against two of the best sides in the world.
“If, when we return to Rome, we have found one or two players who can hack it on the international stage in the Italy jersey, particularly in the backs, we can consider the tour a success.”
There are three uncapped players in the squad, though, with Overmach Parma centre Riccardo Pavan, Calvisano centre Gonzalo Garcia and his flyhalf/fullback teammate Luke McLean.
Forwards: Matias Aguero (Saracens, England), Roberto Barbieri (Treviso), Lorenzo Cittadini (Calvisano), Salvatore Costanzo (Treviso), Carlo Antonio Del Fava (Ulster, Ireland), Santiago Dellape (Biarritz, France), Jaco Erasmus (Viadana), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Calvisano), Carlos Nieto (Gloucester, England), Fabio Ongaro (Saracens, England), Tommaso Reato (Rovigo), Josh Sole (Viadana), Alessandro Zanni (Calvisano).
Backs: Pablo Canavosio (Castres, France), Gonzalo Garcia (Calvisano), Andrea Marcato (Treviso), Andrea Masi (Biarritz, France), Luke McLean (Calvisano), Ludovico Maria Nitoglia (Calvisano), Enrico Patrizio (Padova), Riccardo Pavan (Overmach Parma), Simon Picone (Treviso), Matteo Pratichetti (Calvisano), Kaine Robertson (Viadana).Tweet