Familiar faces return for Nations Cup

(IRB.COM) Friday 18 May 2007
 Familiar faces return for Nations Cup
Argentina A beat Italy A 26-11 in the inaugural IRB Nations Cup

Twelve of the players who helped Argentina A win the inaugural IRB Nations Cup title in 2006 have been named in their 26-man squad for this year's expanded tournament, which takes place in the Romanian capital of Bucharest next month.

Pablo Bouza captained Argentina A to victory, while Génaro Fessia, Francisco Merello, Juan Ignacio Gauthier, Pablo Marcelo Gomez Cora, Gastón De Robertis, Juan Francisco Gomez, Pablo Cardinali, Lucio Lopez Fleming, Bernardo Stortoni, Jaime Arocena and Augusto Petrilli also played.

Some of these players have also appeared on the IRB Sevens World Series this year along with the likes of Federico Amelong and Alfredo Lalanne, while Gabriel Ascarate represented Argentina at the IRB Under 19 World Championship in 2006.

Argentina A face Italy A in their opening match of the round robin tournament on 5 June, followed by encounters with Namibia - who the Pumas will meet in Pool D at Rugby World Cup 2007 - on 10 June and then the Emerging Springboks on 16 June.

Twelve also return for Italy A

Italy A coach Marzio Zanato has also named an equally experienced side with 12 of his squad having featured in last year's tournament in Matteo Barbini, David Dal Maso, Luigi Ferraro, Luigi Milani, Ludovico Nitoglia, Luciano Orquera, Pino Patelli, Antonio and Enrico Pavanello, Aaron Persico, Walter Pozzebon and Michele Rizzo.

Several of these players featured in Italy's best ever RBS 6 Nations campaign earlier this year, including Barbini and Pozzebon, while Ezio Galon started the final match against Ireland in Rome and Leonardo Ghiraldini was on the bench for a number of games.

Cristian Bezzi and Michele Sepe are two others who have also played for the Italian national side before, while Paul Derbyshire captained Italy's Under 21 side this year.

The squad will gather in Treviso on 31 May before facing Argentina A, Romania - a team that Italy face in Pool C at Rugby World Cup 2007 - and Georgia as they look to continue what has already proven a successful year for Italian rugby.

Argentina A squad:
Federico Amelong (Jockey Club de Rosario), Felipe Aranguren (CUBA), Jaime Arocena (Asociación Alumni), Gabriel Ascarate (Club Natacion and Gimnasia), Pablo Bouza (Leeds), Javier Caratti (Asociación Alumni), Rafael Carballo (Castres), Pablo Federico Cardinali (Bourgoin), Matías Cortese (Northampton Saints), Agustín Creevy (San Luis), Gastón De Robertis (Biarritz), Juan De La Cruz Fernandez Miranda (Hindú), Santiago Fernandez (Hindú), Génaro Fessia (Córdoba Athletic), Juan Ignacio Gauthier (Hindú), Pablo Marcelo Gomez Cora (Lomas Athletic), Francisco Gomez Kodela (Belgrano Athletic), Juan Francisco Gomez (Stade Francais), Alfredo Lalanne (SIC), Lucio Lopez Fleming (Edinburgh), Francisco José Merello (Regatas de Bella Vista), Román Miralles (Duendes), Augusto Damián Petrilli (Bourgoin) Santiago Sanz (CASI) Bernardo Mario Stortoni (Bristol), James Stuart (CASI).

Italy A squad:
Matteo Barbini (Benetton Treviso), Alessio Battisti (Almaviva Ur Capitolina), Cristian Bezzi (Arix Viadana), Aldo Birchall (Arix Viadana), Paolo Buso (Cammi Calvisano), Lorenzo Cittadini (Cammi Calvisano), David Dal Maso (Cammi Calvisano), Paul Derbyshire (Rolly Gran Parma), Luigi Ferraro (Arix Viadana), Alessio Galante (Rolly Gran Parma), Ezio Galon (Overmach Parma), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Cammi Calvisano), Nicola Leonardi (Carrera Petrarca Padova), Andrea Marcato (Benetton Treviso), Luigi Milani (Arix Viadana), Ludovico Nitoglia (Cammi Calvisano), Luciano Orquera (Brive), Pino Patelli (Cammi Calvisano), Antonio Pavanello (Benetton Treviso), Enrico Pavanello (Benetton Treviso), Aaron Persico (Cammi Calvisano), Walter Pozzebon (Bristol Rugby), Michele Rizzo (Carrera Petrarca Padova), Marco Rosa (Infinito L'Aquila), Michele Sepe (Almaviva Ur Capitolina), Mario Vella (Arix Viadana).

IRB Nations Cup Fixtures:

5 June
Italy A vs Argentina A
Georgia vs Namibia
Emerging Springboks vs Romania

10 June
Argentina A vs Namibia
Georgia vs Emerging Springboks
Italy A vs Romania

16 June
Italy A vs Georgia
Argentina A vs Emerging Springboks
Romania vs Namibia