At the end of this morning’s team run, Aironi’s coaching staff named the squad to face Scarlets in Llanelli on Sunday (kick-off 4pm).
The Italian side have ten called up by Italy for the World Cup, so a lot of young players will fill the empty spots.
There are debuts for fullback Ruggero Trevisan, for South African fly-half Naas Olivier and for wing Riccardo Pavan. If his twin brother Gilberto comes off from the bench, they will be the first ever set of twin brothers to play together in a Celtic Rugby or RaboDirect Pro12 game. Before them, just the pairing of Neil and Roddy Boobyer who played for Llanelli and Caerphilly respectively (official stats by SMFSLTD).
The back line is completed by centre Roberto Quartaroli and wing Giovanbattista Venditti.
Naas Olivier and Tito Tebaldi are the half back pair. The pack sees two changes from the one that played the last friendly match, with Joshua Furno returning in the second row alongside George Biagi. Luca Redolfini is at tight head prop in a front row completed by Matias Aguero at loose head and captain Roberto Santamaria hooking.
Head coach Rowland Phillips says: “We’re all looking forward to go and play a quality team like Scarlets. We know it will be a difficult game because it’s the first game of the season, but we have worked hard through the summer to be ready for it. We know Scarlets like to play open rugby, it will be a big test for us but one we are really excited about. Last year was very disappointing against Scarlets for us, having a big loss. It will be interesting to see how we improve from last season”.
Aironi: 15 Ruggero Trevisan; 14 Riccardo Pavan, 13 Roberto Quartaroli, 12 Gabriel Pizarro, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti; 10 Naas Olivier, 9 Tito Tebaldi; 1 Matias Aguero, 2 Roberto Santamaria (cap), 3 Luca Redolfini; 4 Joshua Furno, 5 George Biagi; 6 Josh Sole, 7 Nicola Cattina, 8 Nick Williams.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Fabio Staibano, 19 Filippo Ferrarini, 20 Fran Viljoen, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Alberto Benettin, 23 Gilberto Pavan.
Coach: Rowland Phillips
Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Sco)