Italy 2017 and the move up the ladder.
Building on the 2016 Six Nations competition isn’t going to be easy for the Italy 2017 team. Not that Italy have ever lacked passion or willing to do better, but even with the upgrade to their coaching staff, 2017 will still be a tough ask.
The Southern Hemisphere games proved to be a mixed bag of surprising results. Beating South Africa back in November was more or less the only positive result, but it sent out a message that there was more to come.
New coach Conor O’Shea brings experience and a new passion to a side that has never been short on passion. Mike Catt and Brendan Venter add further experience to the coaching staff that could spell trouble for both Scotland and France. Both of whom struggled in the 2016 competition.
Sergio Parisse is everything that Italy represent. Passionate with a staggering self determination to do better. He continues to impress and lead the squad as Captain of the Azzurri. Unfortunately he rest of the team selection is still limited to players from Zebre and Treviso. Not the worst teams to pick from, but there is very little variation in choice. A problem that Italy have always had.
Giorgio Bronzini made the biggest impact in his Southern Hemisphere débute in November. The Benetton Treviso scrum-half could play a vital role in the new look and feel Italy.
Conor O’Shea on Italy 2017: “In the short term we need to become more competitive. First and foremost we want to make sure that we focus absolutely 100% on Wales. The last couple of RBS 6 Nations games against them have been difficult and we need to do better.”
Italy 2017 Squad.
Italy 2017 retain most of their experienced players. Leonardo Ghiraldini, Lorenzo Cittadini, Luke McLean, Simone Favaro, Edoardo Gori, Giovanbattista Venditti and Tommaso Allan all make a return, which makes up the experienced side to the Italy 2017 squad. Nine players have less than 5 caps in the 2017 squad, including Federico Ruzza who is the only uncapped player to make the call up.
Italy’s first game is going to be their toughest, as they host Wales on the 5th February at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.