James Mortimer - allblacks.com - (13/11/2009)
Italy have unveiled their side for their blockbuster clash with the All Blacks at San Siro in Milan, where over 80,000 Azzuri supporters will be baying for one of rugby’s great upsets.
Italian Head Coach Nick Mallet has made just two changes to his side that lost to the All Blacks 27-6 in Christchurch (their last test match).
Forwards Martin Castrogiovanni and Carlo Antonio del Fava return to the side. Del Fava replaces injured Marco Bortolami in the locks while experienced prop Castrogiovanni – who was instrumental in the Tigers win over the Springboks - takes over from Ignacio Rouyet, who drops down to the bench. Tito Tebaldi will win his third cap, partnering with former Australian league international and former Penrith Panther Craig Gower.
"It's a fantastic occasion, it's good for rugby itself," fly-half Gower said."Everyone knows exactly what they are doing and we've just got to put it into place," the former NRL Premiership winning player said."I'm learning the rugby stuff, the conversation is not so great."
Custodian Luke McLean, another Australian in the team was excited about playing in Milan’s cavernous stadium.
"The stadium is really amazing. But every time I have been to see Inter Milan there, three times they've lost. So I bring bad luck to them," he smiled.
HEAD TO HEAD
Played 10, Italy 0, New Zealand 10
Last match: 27th June 2009, New Zealand 27 – 6 Italy @ Christchurch
Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Kaine Robertson, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Craig Gower, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Quintin Geldenhuys, 4 Carlo Antonio Del Fava, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Ignacio Rouyet, 18 Antonio Pavanello, 19 Simone Favaro, 20 Simon Picone, 21 Kristopher Burton, 22 Alberto Sgarbi