Rugby World Cup 2019: Two New Zealanders feature in Italy's 31-man squad

Two New Zealanders will wear the Azzuri blue at the Rugby World Cup in Japan, starting next month.

Lock Dean Budd and utility back Jayden Hayward have been named in Italy's coach Conor O'Shea's 31-man squad. 

Lock forward Dean Budd.
Lock forward Dean Budd. Photo credit: Getty

Veteran loose forward Sergio Parrise will lead Italy in his record fifth Rugby World Cup.

Parrise will join Samoan Brian Lima and Italian compatriot Mauro Bergamasco as the only players to have appeared at five tournaments. 

Italy have a tough path to knockout rugby, drawn in the same group as the All Blacks, alongside South Africa, Namibia and Canada.

But O'Shea is confident his side can shock one of the Rugby Championship powerhouses. 

"Our goal isn’t World Cup winning," he said. "it might be to get out of our pool and make history.

"You can see the depth and competition in so many positions, and we know where the young players are coming up behind.

"This last year, for me, has been the turning point for Italian rugby. We want to make history and actually get results for ourselves, because this group have done to change the mentality for Italian rugby.

"The future is there, everyone can see that. There’s lots still to do and lots of changes still need to be made to allow us to fulfil our potential, but, boy, we have a good group of players.”

Italy 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


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