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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
# RWC2019
Blow for O'Shea's Italy as Zebre captain ruled out of World Cup
Tommaso Castello has not recovered from the broken leg he suffered during the Six Nations.

ITALY HEAD COACH Conor O’Shea will have to proceed with his final World Cup preparations without centre Tommaso Castello, who has now been ruled out of the tournament in Japan.

Castello suffered a fractured fibula during Italy’s Six Nations defeat to England back in March and while he was rehabbing with the national squad, the 27-year-old will not be fit enough to take part in the Azzurri’s warm-up programme.

Tommaso Castello Ryan Byrne / INPHO Castello in action against Ireland in February 2018. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

First capped in 2016, Castello had become a key figure for O’Shea in the Italian midfield in recent years, and his absence will be keenly felt during the World Cup. 

Castello will now return to Zebre where he will continue his recovery process ahead of the new Guinness Pro14 season. 

“All of us in the blue group are deeply sorry for Tommy,” O’Shea said. “We wish him the best for the rest of his recovery. His absence, both as a player and as a person, will be painfully felt in the coming months.”

Castello added: “Rugby has formed my character and I am not used to giving up, but with less than two months to make the World Cup, I have to acknowledge that it will not be possible to give the team the contribution I would like.

Rugby World Cup represents the dream of every rugby player and it is not easy to have to say goodbye but, at this moment, continuing the recovery and returning to Zebre for the Pro14 season is my main goal.

Italy will spend next week in Limerick ahead of their first warm-up outing against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on 10 August, while they also face Russia, France and England before heading to Japan.

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O’Shea’s side open their World Cup campaign against Namibia on 22 September, before further pool outings against Canada, South Africa and New Zealand.

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