There are two long-awaited debuts and two other returns from the World Cup in the starting XV chosen by Aironi’s head coach Rowland Phillips to face Munster in Cork Friday evening (kick-off 8:30pm) in the RaboDirect PRO12 round 7.
The two debutants are Andrea Masi and Luciano Orquera: Both will play their first PRO12 game after spending several years in France. Masi will start at outside centre alongside Gilberto Pavan, with youngster Trevisan at fullback. No changes on the wings, where Sinoti Sinoti and Giovanbattista Venditti continue to pair up. Luciano Orquera will wear the number 10 shirt in a completely new halfback line with New Zealander Tyson Keats at scrum-half.
The two returns are in the pack. Marco Bortolami will skipper the team from the second row for the first time in the season (11th overall).
Roberto Santamaria – Aironi captain during the World Cup – starts from the bench, Fabio Ongaro is at hooker in a front row completed by props Fabio Staibano and Matias Aguero. In the second row Joshua Furno plays alongside Bortolami, while an unfamiliar back row takes the field in Cork.
Aironi must do without Nick Williams, former Munsterman and top try scorer in this PRO12 season with 5. Josh Sole takes his place at number 8, with Simone Favaro and Nicola Cattina at flanker.
Three other members of the Azzurri – Salvatore Perugini, Quintin Geldenhuys and Giulio Toniolatti – return from the World Cup and start from the bench.
15 Ruggero Trevisan; 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Gilberto Pavan, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti; 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Tyson Keats; 8 Josh Sole, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Nicola Cattina; 5 Marco Bortolami (cap), 4 Joshua Furno; 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Roberto Santamaria, 17 Salvatore Perugini, 18 Luca Redolfini, 19 Quintin Geldenhuys, 20 Filippo Ferrarini, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Naas Olivier, 23 Giulio Toniolatti.
Coach: Rowland Phillips.