Six Nations: Italy name team to face Wales in Cardiff on Saturday

Last Updated: 30/01/14 3:35pm

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Angelo Esposito, pictured in U20 action, will make his senior debut for Italy in Cardiff

Angelo Esposito, pictured in U20 action, will make his senior debut for Italy in Cardiff

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Treviso wing Angelo Esposito will make his Italy debut in Saturday's Six Nations opener against Wales in Cardiff.

Head coach Jacques Brunel has opted to select Esposito as well as inexperienced trio Michele Campagnaro, Leonardo Sarto and Tommaso Allan, as he attempts to cope with a lengthy injury list.

Perpignan fly-half Allan, 20, who represented Scotland at underage level, forms a youthful half-back pairing with Treviso's Edoardo Gori for the Millennium Stadium contest.

Veteran flanker Mauro Bergamasco will become Italy's longest serving player, overtaking the legendary Sergio Lanfranchi, but there is no place in the squad for his brother, Mirco

Sergio Parisse will skipper the side after missing the last two games of the 2013 Six Nations through suspension.

Among those absent through injury are Wasps full-back Andrea Masi, Zebre wing Giovanbattista Venditti and La Rochelle centre Gonzalo Canale.

Brunel said he is hoping for a "strong performance" from his side in Cardiff.

"A win would be beautiful and obviously the result counts, but a strong performance on the field is what most interests me," said Brunel.

"The statistics show that Wales are the strongest side in Europe, but I think we have a team that can give a good account of itself.

"Wales's potential is very high but I'm hoping we can stand up well throughout the game."

Italy have faced Wales 21 times, losing 17 and winning just twice in Rome. Their best result in Cardiff was an 18-18 draw in 2006.

Italy: McLean, Esposito, Campagnaro, Sgarbi, Sarto, Allan, Gori; Rizzo, Ghiraldini, Castrogiovanni, Geldenhuys, Bortolami, Zanni, Bergamasco, Parisse (c)

Replacements: Giazzon, De Marchi, Cittadini, Furno, Minto, Botes, Orquera, Iannone

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Six Nations 2014: Wales v Italy

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Warren Gatland was "pretty satisfied" after Wales launched their Six Nations campaign with a 23-15 win over Italy.

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Wales got their defence of the Six Nations title off to a winning start with a far from convincing 23-15 win over Italy.

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Wales were far from convincing as they got the defence of their Six Nations title off to a winning start in Cardiff.

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