Italy coach Jacques Brunel calls up 10 uncapped players for Six Nations


Italy coach Jacques Brunel has named 10 uncapped players in his 30-man Six Nations squad as fit-again playmaker Kelly Haimona returns.

Andrea Lovotti, Matteo Zanusso, Ornel Gega, Andries van Schalkwyk, Jacopo Sarto -- younger brother of wing Leonardo -- and Abraham Steyn are the new faces up front.

In the backs there is room for Edoardo Padovani and Eccellenza championship players Mattia Bellini, Tommaso Castello and David Odiete.

Veteran back-row Sergio Parisse once again captains the side, who kick off their campaign against France in Paris on Feb 6.

"The camps this winter allowed us to see a number of players and evaluate some interesting alternatives to all the injuries we are currently dealing with," said Brunel.

"We have some important players coming back, like [George] Biagi, [Giulio] Bisegni and [Kelly] Haimona, who had a big impact in the last Six Nations before getting injured.

"There are also lots of new players and three who have come from the Eccellenza championship and shown they deserve a place in the squad to prepare for the first two games of the tournament."

Italy squad:

Forwards: Martin Castrogiovanni (Racing 92), Dario Chistolini (Zebre Rugby), Lorenzo Cittadini (Wasps), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby), Matteo Zanusso (Benetton Treviso), Ornel Gega (Benetton Treviso), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Leicester Tigers), Valerio Bernabo (Zebre Rugby), George Fabio Biagi (Zebre Rugby), Marco Fuser (Benetton Treviso), Francesco Minto (Benetton Treviso), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais) (c), Jacopo Sarto (Zebre Rugby), Abraham Steyn (Benetton Treviso), Andries Van Schalkwyk (Zebre Rugby), Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Treviso)

Backs: Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso), Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre Rugby), Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby), Edoardo Padovani (Zebre Rugby), Mattia Bellini (Petrarca Padova), Giulio Bisegni (Zebre Rugby), Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs), Tommaso Castello (Rugby Calvisano), Gonzalo Garcia (Zebre Rugby), Kelly Haimona (Zebre Rugby), Luke McLean (Benetton Treviso), David Odiete (Marchiol Mogliano), Andrea Pratichetti (Benetton Treviso), Leonardo Sarto (Zebre Rugby).