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Zanni back after two years

Sunday, February 04, 2018

ROME - Alessandro Zanni will win his 100th cap for Italy on Sunday after being drafted into the team following a two-year absence for their Six Nations opener against England in Rome.

The 34-year-old, who was named at lock, last played against Wales in the Six Nations in March 2016 and has been out injured for much of the time since. He has spent most of his career as a loose forward.

He is among seven changes in the team named by coach Conor O'Shea on Friday from their 35-6 defeat to South Africa in Padua last November.

Tommaso Allan returns at flyhalf after injury kept him out of the last three internationals against Fiji, Argentina and the Springboks and there are starting berths for veterans Tommaso Benvenuti at wing and hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini.

Tomorrow's team includes seven players who will be making their first Six Nations appearance, including Matteo Minozzi at fullback, the centre pairing of Tommaso Boni and Tommaso Castello, youthful flankers Renato Giammarioli and Sebastian Negri, New Zealand-born lock Dean Budd and Simone Ferrari in the front row.

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