McKinley on the bench as O'Shea names Italy team for Ireland clash

The sides meet in Chicago on 3 November.

ITALY HEAD COACH Conor O’Shea has announced his team to play Ireland in Chicago more than a week in advance, with former Leinster out-half Ian McKinley named on the Azzurri bench. 

Joe Schmidt’s Ireland will open their November Test schedule against Six Nations rivals Italy at Soldier Field on Saturday 3 November [KO 8pm Irish time, eir Sport 2].

Conor O'Shea Italy coach Conor O'Shea. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

O’Shea’s squad today concluded a training camp in Verona ahead of their departure for America this weekend, and the Irishman has taken the unusual step of naming his matchday squad 10 days in advance. 

McKinley, having made his international debut for Italy last November after qualifying through the three-year residency rule, is in line to face the country of his birth next month.

The Dubliner was in Italy’s extended squad for their Six Nations visit to the Aviva Stadium last February, but didn’t make the bench. 

Exeter Chiefs centre Michele Campagnaro will captain Italy with eight Benetton players named to start as the Guinness Pro14 club continue to make huge strides in the competition, winning three of their first six outings this term.

South African-born flanker Johan Meyer is set for his Test debut in the back row having impressed for Zebre, while the trusted half-back pairing of Carlo Canna and Tito Tebaldi is retained. 

Following their clash with Ireland, Italy will face Georgia, Australia and New Zealand during the Autumn block of fixtures, as they look to build on Test victories over Japan and Fiji last season.  

Italy (v Ireland):

15. Luca Sperandio (Benetton Rugby)
14. Mattia Bellini (Zebre)
13. Michele Campagnaro (Exeter Chiefs)
12. Luca Morisi (Benetton Rugby)
11. Giulio Bisegni (Zebre)
10. Carlo Canna (Zebre)
9. Tito Tebaldi (Benetton Rugby)

1. Nicola Quaglio (Benetton Rugby)
2. Luca Bigi (Benetton Rugby)
3. Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton Rugby)
4. Marco Fuser (Benetton Rugby)
5. George Fabio Biagi (Zebre)
6. Johan Meyer (Zebre)
7. Abraham Steyn (Benetton Rugby)
8. Renato Giammarioli (Zebre)

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16. Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre)
17. Cherif Traore (Benetton Rugby)
18. Giosue Zilocchi (Zebre)
19. Marco Lazzaroni (Benetton Rugby)
20. Federico Ruzza (Benetton Rugby)
21. Jimmy Tuivaiti (Zebre)
22. Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre)
23. Ian McKinley (Benetton Rugby).

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Ryan Bailey

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