Italy and Uruguay try and set marker for 2023 RWC

November 18, 2021 GMT
Italy's Stephen Varney is tackled by Argentina's Pablo Matera during a rugby union international match between Italy and Argentina at the Monigo stadium in Treviso, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Paolo Giovannini)
Italy's Stephen Varney is tackled by Argentina's Pablo Matera during a rugby union international match between Italy and Argentina at the Monigo stadium in Treviso, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Paolo Giovannini)
Italy's Stephen Varney is tackled by Argentina's Pablo Matera during a rugby union international match between Italy and Argentina at the Monigo stadium in Treviso, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Paolo Giovannini)
Italy's Stephen Varney is tackled by Argentina's Pablo Matera during a rugby union international match between Italy and Argentina at the Monigo stadium in Treviso, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Paolo Giovannini)
Italy's Stephen Varney is tackled by Argentina's Pablo Matera during a rugby union international match between Italy and Argentina at the Monigo stadium in Treviso, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Paolo Giovannini)

PARMA, Italy (AP) — Italy and Uruguay will try and set a marker for the 2023 Rugby World Cup when they meet in Parma on Saturday.

Uruguay qualified last month for the same tournament pool as Italy after out-scoring the United States over two legs.

The Teros are already looking forward to historic matches against New Zealand and France in their pool but have also made clear they are targeting wins against Italy in Nice on Sept. 20, 2023, and the African qualifier seven days later in Lyon to ensure they automatically qualify for the 2027 World Cup.

Their preparations stepped up this month as an under-strength side lost to Romania 29-14 in Verona and lost to Italy A 31-13 in Padua last weekend.

But after making a deal to have their best players available for the qualifiers, they have been reinforced this week by the arrival of European-based players — hooker Germán Kessler, prop Mateo Sanguinetti, lock Manuel Leindekar, and scrumhalf Agustín Ormaechea. The first three were parachuted into the starting XV and Ormaechea into the reserves.

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Italy is still favored to extend its record against Uruguay to 4-0.

Four from the Italy A side have been added to the senior team which lost to Argentina 37-16 last weekend in Treviso. They were Italy A captain and No. 8 Abraham Steyn, try-scoring wings Pierre Bruno and Fiji-born Ratuva Tavuyara, and loosehead prop Cherif Traoré. Bruno will make his senior debut in front of his home crowd.

Two more could make their Italy debut off the bench after qualifying on residency: Tavuyara and former New Zealand Under-20 hooker Hame Faiva, both at Benetton.

Italy changed four of the tight five after the Pumas loss, slotting Luca Bigi and Danilo Fischetti into the front row, moving newcomer Ivan Nemer to tighthead from loosehead, and starting locks Federico Ruzza and Marco Fuser.

Callum Braley was at scrumhalf ahead of Stephen Varney.

Italy has an eye on facing Uruguay in 2023 but is prioritizing ending a miserable run of 16 consecutive defeats since the 2019 World Cup.

“We always go out on the pitch to win and there are no games where we are satisfied with a different result,” prop Fischetti said.

“Uruguay have a solid scrum and shown that they never give up. By exploiting our potential and the game plan we can demonstrate our true value and aim to bring home a good result.”

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Lineups:

Italy: Edoardo Padovani, Pierre Bruno, Juan Ignacio Brex, Luca Morisi, Montanna Ioane, Paolo Garbisi, Callum Braley; Abraham Steyn, Michele Lamaro (captain), Sebastian Negri, Federico Ruzza, Marco Fuser, Ivan Nemer, Luca Bigi, Danilo Fischetti. Reserves: Hame Faiva, Cherif Traoré, Pietro Ceccarelli, David Sisi, Giovanni Licata, Alessandro Fusco, Carlo Canna, Ratuva Tavuyara.

Uruguay: Rodrigo Silva, Federico Favaro, Felipe Arcos Pérez, Nicolás Freitas, Gaston Mieres, Felipe Etcheverry, Tomas Inciárte; Manuel Diana, Santiago Civetta, Manuel Ardao, Manuel Leindekar, Eric Dosantos, Diego Arbelo, German Kessler, Mateo Sanguinetti. Reserves: Facundo Gattas, Ignacio Péculo, Matias Benitez, Diego Magnom Franco Lamanna, Agustin Ormaechea, Mateo Viñals, Juan Manuel Alonso.

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