6N: 6 new starters, 2 debuts for Italy at Scotland
ROME (AP) — Italy will debut two backs and play Scotland in the Six Nations without Martin Castrogiovanni after he was bitten by a dog.
Benetton Treviso inside center Enrico Bacchin and Zebre winger Michele Visentin will make their first appearances among six changes after the 47-17 loss to England at Twickenham.
Bacchin and Visentin replace the injured Andrea Masi and Leonardo Sarto for Saturday’s game at Murrayfield.
Luca Morisi and clubmate Bacchin will be the third different midfield pair in three matches, after Michele Campagnaro then Masi went down. As clubmates, they were “the most logical choice,” coach Jacques Brunel said.
Castrogiovanni, capped 109 times, was unavailable after he needed 14 stitches from being bitten on the nose by a friend’s dog.
Loosehead prop Alberto de Marchi was also dropped to the reserves, meaning Italy has given an eighth cap to tighthead Dario Christolini, and promoted Matias Aguero on the other side of hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini.
Joshua Furno was back at lock for Marco Bortolami, who had a right hip injury, and Simone Favaro, who last appeared in November against Argentina, was on the openside flank for another centurion, Mauro Bergamasco, who was out of the matchday 23.
Captain and No. 8 Sergio Parisse will match Bortolami’s Italy caps record with his 111th appearance.
Italy has lost to Scotland in the last minutes in their last two matches, and not won in Scotland since 2007.
Italy: Luke McLean, Michele Visentin, Luca Morisi, Enrico Bacchin, Giovambattista Venditti, Kelly Haimona, Edoardo Gori; Sergio Parisse (captain), Simone Favaro, Francesco Minto, Joshua Furno, George Biagi, Dario Chistolini, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Matias Aguero. Reserves: Andrea Manici, Alberto De Marchi, Lorenzo Cittadini, Marco Fuser, Samuela Vunisa, Guglielmo Palazzani, Tommaso Allan, Giulio Bisegni.