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From bad to worse for Castrogiovanni as O'Shea leaves him out of first Italy squad

The prop made the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently when he was pictured partying in Las Vegas.

Image: David Davies

ITALY COACH CONOR O’Shea hinted at his future plans for the Six Nations strugglers on Monday, by omitting experienced prop Martin Castrogiovanni and including several new faces in a 30-man squad for a summer tour of the Americas.

Former Harlequins director O’Shea will take up residence in Italy this summer, before beginning the tough task of transforming a side left battered and demoralised after their last Six Nations campaign.

Italy, who finished bottom of the table, face Argentina, the United States and Canada this summer in what will be their first tests under the helm of the former Ireland fullback.

Among the notable absentees from O’Shea’s 30-strong list are Castrogiovanni, long-time captain Sergio Parisse and back-row forwards Francesco Minto and Alessandro Zanni.

While Stade Francais back-rower Parisse, Minto and Zanni have all been rested for the summer tour, Castrogiovanni looks to have paid the price for a recent spell of off-the-pitch shenanigans.

The 119-times capped Castrogiovanni was recently suspended by his French Top 14 club Racing 92 after being caught with players from football club Paris Saint-Germain partying in Las Vegas.

At the time, Castrogiovanni was supposed to be in Nottingham to support his team in the European Champions Cup semi-final against Leicester. Not picked for that game, he informed Racing he had to return home to Argentina on family business.

Castrogiovanni was caught out when PSG star Zlatan Ibrahimovic posted photographs of him in the Nevada casino city on his Instagram account.

“He hurt the club and his team-mates,” said Racing’s forwards coach Laurent Travers. “And in some ways, he has hurt the entire staff.”

The absences, meanwhile, should give a clutch of new Azzurri faces a chance to show O’Shea what they can do.

Centres Tommaso Castello and Tommaso Boni, who have earned previous selections but not yet played for Italy, prop Simone Ferrari and back-row forward Maxime Mbanda are among four debutants on the list.

Italy kick off their summer tour on 11 June with a tough fixture against World Cup semi-finalists Argentina at Comodoro Rivadavia in the south of the country.

A week later they face the USA in San Jose (California), then on June 26 play Canada in Toronto.

Italy squad:

Backs: Luke McLean (Treviso), David Odiete (Marchiol Mogliano), Angelo Esposito (Treviso), Leonardo Sarto (Zebre), Giovanbattista Venditti (Newcastle Falcons/ENG), Giulio Bisegni (Zebre), Tommaso Boni (Zebre), Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs/ENG), Tommaso Castello (Calvisano), Tommaso Allan (USAP Perpignan/FRA), Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby), Edoardo Gori (Treviso), Alberto Lucchese (Treviso) Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre).

Forwards: Pietro Ceccarelli (Zebre), Lorenzo Cittadini (Wasps/ENG), Simone Ferrari (Treviso), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre), Matteo Zanusso (Treviso), Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre), Ornel Gega (Treviso), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Leicester/ENG), Valerio Bernaba (Zebre), Marco Fuser (Treviso), Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre), Robert Julian Barbieri (Treviso), Simone Favaro (Glasgow/SCO), Maxime Mbanda (Calvisano), Abraham Steyn (Treviso), Andries van Schalkwik (Zebre).

© – AFP 2016

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