/ Six Nations 2014

Martin Castrogiovanni handed Azzurri captaincy

Updated: Thursday, 21 Feb 2013 14:58 | Comments

Martin Castrogiovanni will captain the Azzurri in the absence of Sergio Parisse
Martin Castrogiovanni will captain the Azzurri in the absence of Sergio Parisse

Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni will captain Italy in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash against Wales.

Castrogiovanni, who wins his 94th cap, takes over from Sergio Parisse for the game at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Parisse is serving a 40-day ban - ten days of which were suspended - after being sent off playing for his club Stade Francais in a French Top 14 game against Bordeaux-Begles last weekend.

He was dismissed for insulting match referee Laurent Cardona, and is currently suspended until 18 March, ruling him out of Six Nations appointments with Wales, England and Ireland.

Castrogiovanni, who skippered his country in last season's Six Nations game against Scotland, takes over the leadership reins, with Manoa Vosawai packing down at number eight instead of Parisse.

Fiji-born Vosawai is among six Treviso forwards selected in the Italian pack, the only exceptions being Castrogiovanni and his fellow prop Andrea Lo Cicero, who plays for French club Racing Metro.

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has made three other changes from the side beaten 34-10 by Scotland at Murrayfield 12 days ago.

Half-backs Luciano Orquera and Tobias Botes have carried the can for that loss, with both of them losing their places.

Orquera, outstanding in the victory over France a week earlier, is replaced by Kristopher Burton, with Edoardo Gori taking over from Botes.

And there is also a switch in the second row, where Antonio Pavanello is preferred to Quintin Geldenhuys, who drops to the replacements' bench.

Italy have beaten Wales on two previous Six Nations occasions in Rome - in 2003 and 2007 - and it will be the countries' first championship meeting at the Stadio Olimpico.

Italy team to face Wales at Stadio Olimpico on Saturday 23 February: 
A Masi (Wasps); G Venditti (Zebre), T Benvenuti (Treviso), G Canale (La Rochelle), L McLean (Treviso); K Burton (Treviso), E Gori (Treviso); A Lo Cicero (Racing Metro), L Ghiraldini (Treviso), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester, capt), A Pavanello (Treviso), F Minto (Treviso), A Zanni (Treviso), S Favaro (Treviso), M Vosawai (Treviso).

Replacements: D Giazzon (Zebre), A De Marchi (Treviso), L Cittadini (Treviso), Q Geldenhuys (Zebre), P Derbyshire (Treviso), T Botes (Treviso), L Orquera (Zebre), G Garcia (Zebre).

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