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Italy name under-strength side for Ireland test in Chicago

Italy name under-strength side for Ireland test in Chicago
FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Italy vs Scotland - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - March 17, 2018 Italy head coach Conor O'Shea before the match REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi   -   Copyright  ALESSANDRO BIANCHI(Reuters)
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ROME (Reuters) – Italy have named an under-strength team for Saturday’s test against Ireland at Soldier Field in Chicago but coach Conor O’Shea is hopeful they can make a good impression in the contest.

“We have a very difficult challenge against Ireland, who in the past created that we did not manage properly,” Italy’s Irish-born coach O’Shea said on Sunday.

“But we will give 100 percent on the field. We are ambitious and we want to show our game. It will be important for us to put in a physically strong performance.”

The squad contains only one uncapped player in South African-born flanker lock Johan Meyer who qualifies after three years of playing for Zebre.

Italy are without several regulars, including captain Sergio Parisse, for the test in the United States.

Exeter Chiefs centre Michele Campagnaro will lead the team in his absence.

Irish-born Ian McKinley is on the bench and will likely get a run out against his native country, an opportunity he missed out on in the Six Nations tournament this year.

He also qualifies for Italy on residency grounds. He had retired from rugby in 2011 after losing the sight in his left eye, but returned three years later using specially-manufactured goggles.

Last year, the 28-year-old McKinley made his debut against Fiji and also featured in tests against South Africa and Argentina.

After the test in Chicago, Italy take on Georgia in Florence on Nov. 10, Australia in Padua on Nov. 17 and world champions New Zealand in Rome on Nov. 24.

Team: 15-Luca Sperandio, 14-Mattia Bellini, 13-Michele Campagnaro (captain), 12-Luca Morisi, 11-Giulio Bisegni, 10-Carlo Canna, 9-Tito Tebaldi, 8-Rento Giammarioli, 7-Bram Steyn, 6-Johan Meyer, 5-George Fabio Biagi, 4-Marco Fuser, 3-Tiziano Pasquali, 2-Luca Bigi, 1-Nicola Quaglio

Replacements: 16-Oliviero Fabiani, 17-Cherif Traore, 18-Giosue Zilocchi, 19-Marco Lazzaroni, 20-Federico Ruzza, 21-Jimmy Tuivatti, 22-Guglielmo Palazzani, 23-Ian McKinley.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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