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Fri, 12 May 2017

Rugby: Scotland and Italy Announce Strong Squads for Historic Singapore Test

Eighty minutes of epic rugby between two elite European sides awaits fans in south east Asia, as Italy and Scotland go head-to-head in Singapore on 10 June.

With just over a month to go before the teams scrum down at the National Stadium, both sides have Scotland and Italy announce strong squads for historic Singapore Test. in June

Italy’s Head Coach Conor O’Shea announced a 31-man Italy squad to face Scotland in Singapore (10 June), Fiji in Suva (17 June) and the Qantas Wallabies in Brisbane (24 June).

The Azzurri have picked four uncapped players, all of them forwards, including tighthead prop Tiziano Pasquali, hooker Luca Bigi and lock Dean Budd from the PRO12 side Benetton Treviso. Joining the debutants will be Luhandre Luus, the only uncapped player currently playing his club rugby in Italy for Patarň Calvisano.

A Scotland fan at the 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens

Making a comeback to the side are Benetton Treviso’s tighthead prop Simone Ferrari, alongside club-mates, Robert Barbieri and veteran scrumhalf Tito Tebaldi, who returns after a 3-year absence.

 “We can’t wait to take the field in Singapore, which is a new and thrilling challenge for Italy in the Test arena. There is a huge amount of work going on behind the scenes to prepare this group for the challenges ahead,” said Head Coach Conor O’Shea. “We are also making changes within our system which we feel will benefit Italian Rugby both in the short and long term but no one is under any illusions about the task ahead. The goal for this group of players on this tour is to ensure we execute and start taking the opportunities that we have undoubtedly had. Once we start doing that, and playing with the intensity and focus that we aspire to, will we become the team that both we and all our supporters desire."

Scotland’s new Head Coach, Gregor Townsend named three uncapped players in his 34-man Scotland squad for next month’s 3-test summer tour, the first under his stewardship. Glasgow Warriors’ centre Nick Grigg, prop D’Arcy Rae and Edinburgh Rugby hooker George Turner are the uncapped players in the squad.

Scotland are also strengthened by the return of Pete Horne and Willem Nel from injury, while there are notable recalls for Glasgow Warriors wing Lee Jones, Harlequins back Ruaridh Jackson and Edinburgh Rugby scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne – who steps into the squad for Greig Laidlaw, recently called up for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

 “It’s exciting to be able to play in a unique stadium and the fact that it’ll be Scotland’s first international there will make for a great occasion. I’ve not been to Singapore before, but I know several players are looking forward to not just the stadium but the island as whole, having heard so many good things about it,” said Head Coach, Gregor Townsend. “Playing Italy in Singapore will be a very different prospect than taking them on in Edinburgh or Rome, and it will be a challenge for both teams to adapt to the new surroundings. Italy are a team we know well and we can expect it to be a very competitive match. It will provide us the ideal opportunity to get our game into place on the way to playing Australia and Fiji as part of our summer tour.”

Welcoming the squad announcement, President of the Singapore Rugby Union Low Teo Ping said, “While Italy sit ten places beneath Scotland’s lofty fifth in World Rugby’s international rankings, both sides are equally bullish about their prospects for the joust in June. This historic, first ever rugby union Test Match at Singapore’s National Stadium, promises to be a titanic tussle between two top tier-one teams, and is by far the biggest single night of live international rugby that fans in Asia can hope to see. We have fans from as far afield as Hong Kong and even China contacting us for block bookings. To make it an evening to remember, there will also be top-class live entertainment on offer, plus food and beverage with an Italian twist and a Scottish flavour to keep every fan engaged and entertained.”

A range of tickets have been announced for the historic match, with adult tickets priced at S$80 (Premium), S$50 (Category 1) and S$20 (Category 2). Youth and child tickets are also available.

ITALY SQUAD (31)

Props: Pietro Ceccarelli (Zebre Rugby, 7 caps), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby, 14 caps), Simone Ferrari (Benetton Treviso, 2 caps), Sami Panico (Patarň Calvisano, 10 caps), Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton Treviso, uncapped); Hookers: Luca Bigi (Benetton Treviso, uncapped), Ornel Gega (Benetton Treviso, 12 caps), Luhandre Luus (Patarň Calvisano, uncapped); Locks: George Fabio Biagi (Zebre Rugby, 19 caps); Dean Budd (Benetton Treviso, uncapped), Marco Fuser (Benetton Treviso, 21 caps), Federico Ruzza (Zebre Rugby, 1 cap), Andries Van Schalkwyk (Zebre Rugby, 12 caps): Flanker/n.8s: Robert Julian Barbieri (Benetton Treviso, 40 caps), Maxime Mbanda' (Zebre Rugby, 8 caps), Francesco Minto (Benetton Treviso, 33 caps), Abraham Jurgen Steyn (Benetton Treviso, 11 caps); Scrum-halves: Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso, 61 caps), Tito Tebaldi (Benetton Treviso, 20 caps), Marcello Violi (Zebre Rugby, 3 caps); Fly-halves: Tommaso Allan (Benetton Treviso, 30 caps), Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby, 20 caps); Centres: Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Treviso, 42 caps), Tommaso Boni (Zebre Rugby, 2 caps), Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps); Wingers: Giulio Bisegni (Zebre Rugby, 7 caps), Angelo Esposito (Benetton Treviso, 11 caps), Leonardo Sarto (Glasgow Warriors, 30 caps), Giovanbattista Venditti (Zebre Rugby, 42 caps); Full-backs: Edoardo Padovani (Zebre Rugby, 11 caps), Luca Sperandio (Benetton Treviso, 2 caps).

SCOTLAND SQUAD (34)

Props: Alex Allan (Glasgow Warriors, 3 caps), Allan Dell (Edinburgh Rugby, 8 caps), Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors, 9 caps), Willem Nel (Edinburgh Rugby, 15 caps), D’Arcy Rae (Glasgow Warriors, uncapped), Gordon Reid (Glasgow Warriors, 24 caps); Hookers:Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors, 25 caps), Ross Ford (Edinburgh Rugby, 107 caps), George Turner (Edinburgh Rugby, uncapped); Second-row: Richie Gray (Toulouse, 64 caps), Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors, 33 caps), Tim Swinson (Glasgow Warriors, 29 caps), Ben Toolis (Edinburgh Rugby, 1 cap); Back–row: CAPTAIN John Barclay (Scarlets, 60 caps), Magnus Bradbury (Edinburgh Rugby, 1 cap), John Hardie (Edinburgh Rugby, 15 caps), Rob Harley (Glasgow Warriors, 19 caps), Josh Strauss (Glasgow Warriors, 11 caps), Hamish Watson (Edinburgh Rugby, 10 caps), Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors, 27 caps); Scrum-halves: Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (Edinburgh Rugby, 9 caps), Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, 5 caps), Henry Pyrgos (Glasgow Warriors, 21 caps); Stand-offs: Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors, 23 caps), Finn Russell (Glasgow Warriors, 27 caps); Centres: Alex Dunbar (Glasgow Warriors, 24 caps), Nick Grigg (Glasgow Warriors, uncapped), Matt Scott (Gloucester, 37 caps), Duncan Taylor (Saracens, 18 caps); Back-threes: Damien Hoyland (Edinburgh Rugby, 2 caps), Ruaridh Jackson (Harlequins, 30 caps), Lee Jones (Glasgow Warriors, 4 caps), Sean Maitland (Saracens, 28 caps), Tim Visser (Harlequins, 31 caps).

Rugby pictures: Pictures from 2018 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures from 2017 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures from 2016 Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2015, Pictures of the Asia Rugby Sevens Olympic Games Qualifier in Hong Kong, Pictures of Singha Thailand Sevens 2015, Pictures from the 2013 British & Irish Lions Tour in Hong Kong, Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2014, Pictures of Hong Kong Sevens 2013, Pictures of Chartis Cup 2012 and Pictures of Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens 2012.

See other recent news regarding: Singapore, Italy, Scotland, Rugby.

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