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RugbyU: Parisse returns as Italy look to stop England tide

Captain Sergio Parisse returns for winless Italy's starting side as the Azzurri look to cap a disappointing Six Nations campaign with a win against title hopefuls England in Rome on Saturday. Italy coach Jacques Brunel made three changes to the side that started against Ireland last week where the Azzurri suffered a 47-7 defeat. Parisse returns at No 8 in place of Paul Derbyshire, while in the front row Lorenzo Cittadini replaces injured prop Martin Castrogiovanni and Matias Aguero comes in for Alberto De Marchi, who drops to the bench.

RugbyU: Pape wary of Italy challenge

France captain Pascal Pape warned on Saturday that victory should not be taken for granted agaisnt Italy in their Six Nations match on Sunday adding the Italians were a top class outfit. The 33-year-old lock -- who is captaining France in the absence of the injured Thierry Dusautoir -- said it was also important for France to build on their thrilling 26-24 opening win over England last Saturday. "We know the Italy team has loads of experience, is physically very strong, with a lot of rugby under their belts," said Pape, who will win his 51st cap.

Rugby Union: Italy add Japan meeting to summer series

Italy have added a test date with Japan to a summer test series which already includes encounters against Fiji and Samoa, the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) announced Thursday. Italy, who began their Six Nations campaign last week with a 23-15 defeat to Wales in Cardiff, will face the 'Brave Blossoms' in Tokyo on June 21. The announcement was made by the president of the Japanese Rugby Federation (JRFU), Tatsuzo Yabe, in Tokyo on Thursday. "We're happy to be welcoming Italy back to Japan after an eight-year absence," said Yabe in a statement released by the FIR.

Rugby Union: Italy add Japan meeting to summer series

Italy have added a test date with Japan to a summer test series which already includes encounters against Fiji and Samoa, the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) announced Thursday. Italy, who began their Six Nations campaign last week with a 23-15 defeat to Wales in Cardiff, will face the 'Brave Blossoms' in Tokyo on June 21. The announcement was made by the president of the Japanese Rugby Federation (JRFU), Tatsuzo Yabe, in Tokyo on Thursday. "We're happy to be welcoming Italy back to Japan after an eight-year absence," said Yabe in a statement released by the FIR.

Rugby Union: Italy target 'strong performance' against Wales

Italy coach Jacques Brunel said he is hoping for a "strong performance" from his side when they line up for their Six Nations opener against defending champions Wales on Saturday. Italy followed up a promising 2013 Six Nations campaign with a mediocre tour of the southern hempisphere last summer and an even more worrying series of displays in the November tests. However Brunel, who steered Italy to a fourth-place finish last year, indicated his side should not be under-estimated.

Rugby Union: Italy target 'strong performance' against Wales

Italy coach Jacques Brunel said he is hoping for a "strong performance" from his side when they line up for their Six Nations opener against defending champions Wales on Saturday. Italy followed up a promising 2013 Six Nations campaign with a mediocre tour of the southern hempisphere last summer and an even more worrying series of displays in the November tests. However Brunel, who steered Italy to a fourth-place finish last year, indicated his side should not be under-estimated.

RugbyU: Parisse tells Italy to remain positive

Italy captain Sergio Parisse urged his side to retain the attacking style that served them well in last season's Six Nations if they were to enjoy more success this term. The Azzurri threw the 2013 tournament wide open when they beat France on the first weekend. Long admired for their forward power, Parisse said Italy had shown they could play a more expansive game. "Back in 2008 the questions were all about us having a good scrum, but I think we are more complete as a team now," Parisse insisted at the Six Nations launch in London on Wednesday.

RugbyU: Parisse tells Italy to remain positive

Italy captain Sergio Parisse urged his side to retain the attacking style that served them well in last season's Six Nations if they were to enjoy more success this term. The Azzurri threw the 2013 tournament wide open when they beat France on the first weekend. Long admired for their forward power, Parisse said Italy had shown they could play a more expansive game. "Back in 2008 the questions were all about us having a good scrum, but I think we are more complete as a team now," Parisse insisted at the Six Nations launch in London on Wednesday.

RugbyU: Lions hero Halfpenny up for IRB player award

British and Irish Lions hero Leigh Halfpenny faces stiff competition from a pair of New Zealanders after the International Rugby Board (IRB) named its shortlist Friday for the 2013 player of the year. All Blacks No.8 Kieran Read and winger-turned-centre Ben Smith are on the five-man list alongside South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth and Italy captain Sergio Parisse. The winner will succeed New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter as the world's best player. The announcement will be made on November 30 following the last of the November test matches.

Rugby Union: Allan to start for Italy against Argentina

Italy coach Jacques Brunel will hand former Scotland under-20 player Tommaso Allan his full debut when the Azzurri host Argentina in the third and final test of their November series on Saturday. Italy-born Allan, who has made substitute appearances for Italy after being drafted into the squad last month, is one of three changes for the clash against the Pumas at the Olympic Stadium.
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