ROME, Italy, Feb 7 – Italy coach Conor O’Shea has made two changes for Saturday’s clash against Wales in Rome as the Azzurri look to end their run of 18 successive Six Nations losses.
Italy lost their Six Nations opener against Scotland 33-20, but three late unanswered tries have given O’Shea reason for optimism.
Captain Sergio Parisse made a record 66th Six Nations appearance at Murrayfield, as scrum-half Guglielmo Palazzani and wings Edoardo Padovani and Angelo Esposito all scored tries in a late attacking flurry.
Palazzani, who started last week after Tito Tebaldi was injured in the warm-up, continues at scrum-half with Edoardo Gori and back Marco Barbini on the bench.
Nicola Quaglio replaces Andrea Lovotti, who has a bout of flu, with Michele Campagnaro moving to centre to replace Tommaso Castello, who is also ill, and Padovani coming into the starting lineup.
Italy’s last win in the Six Nations was against Scotland in Edinburgh in February 2015.
They have beaten the Welsh twice, both times in Rome, in 2003 and 2007.
Victory for Wales at the Stadio Olimpico would make it 11 successive wins and equal their all-time unbeaten record set between 1907 and 1910.
Italy team for the Six Nations match against Wales in Rome on Saturday (1645GMT):
Jayden Hayward; Edoardo Padovani, Michele Campagnaro, Luca Morisi, Angelo Esposito; Tommaso Allan, Guglielmo Palazzani; Sergio Parisse (capt), Braam Steyn, Sebastien Negri; Dean Budd, David Sisi; Simone Ferrari, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Nicola Quaglio
Replacements: Luca Bigi, Cherif Traore, Tiziano Pasquali, Federico Ruzza, Marco Barbini, Edoardo Gori, Ian McKinley, Tommaso Benvenuti
Coach: Conor O’Shea (IRL)