Rugby World Cup 2019: Italy

World ranking: 14th

Qualification: Third in 2015 pool

Best result: Pool stage

TAB odds: $501

Chances: Their presence in the Six Nations championship hasn't really produced the desire improvement in Italy's international standing.

The draw hasn't done them any favours - they won't progress against New Zealand and Australia, but need wins against Namibia and Canada to keep face.

Leading players

Sergio Parisse

The Italian talisman for the last two decades, Parisse has long been considered one of the best loose forwards in world rugby. Unfortunately, his swansong won't be a happy one, given the tough pool his side find themselves in. 

Matteo Minozzi

Absolute pace to burn, Minozzi could be on the wishlist of many a big-spending European club when the tournament ends. Minozzi's play is very similar to that of Israel Dagg - big boot, great step and superb under the high ball.

Squad

Forwards: Simone Ferrari, Andrea Lovotti, Tiziano Pasquali, Nicola Quaglio, Marco Riccioni, Federico Zani, Luca Bigi, Oliviero Fabiani, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Dean Budd, Federico Ruzza, David Sisi, Alessandro Zanni, Maxime Mbanda, Sebastian Negri, Sergio Parisse, Jake Polledri, Abraham Steyn.

Backs: Callum Braley, Guglielmo Palazzini, Tito Tebaldi, Tommaso Allan, Carlo Canna, Tommaso Benvenuti, Michele Campagnaro, Luca Morisi, Mattia Bellini, Giulio Bisegni, Jayden Hayward, Matteo Minozzi, Edoardo Padovani

Pool draw (NZT)
September 22
Italy v Namibia, Higashiosaka City, 5:15pm 

September 26
Italy v Canada, Fukuoka City, 7:45pm 

October 4
South Africa v Italy, Shizukoa Prefecture, 10:45pm (live)

October 12
New Zealand v Italy, Toyota City, 5:45pm (live)

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Rugby World Cup 2019 Dictionary

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...