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Castro in Italy team to face England

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Martin Castrogiovanni starts his second game of the RBS 6 Nations after being named in the Italy team to take on England at Rome's Stadio Olimpico on Saturday (kick-off 4pm GMT).

Leicester Tigers prop Castrogiovanni will win his 84th cap for the Azzurri, linking up with Andrea Lo Cicero and Leonardo Ghiraldini in the front row.

Coach Jacques Brunel has gone for experience after making two changes to the side. Former skipper Marco Bortolami comes into the second row in place of Quintin Geldenhuys, while Clermont centre Gonzalo Canale replaces Alberto Sgarbi.

With 162 caps between them the Italian pair add a wealth of experience to the side who are looking to bounce back from Saturday’s 30-12 defeat to France in Paris.

There are changes on the bench with Benetton Treviso second row Antonio Pavanello called in after his return from suspension, and uncapped Luca Morisi in line for a test debut. Veteran flanker Mauro Bergamasco also returns on the bench ahead of Simone Favaro.

The Azzurri are set to play in front of their biggest home crowd in RBS 6 Nations history in the clash at the Stadio Olimpico. And they will also be seeking a first-ever win against England, having come within four and five points in their last two home encounters with the Red Rose.

Italy (v England, Saturday)
15 Andrea Masi (Aironi Rugby)
14 Giovanbattista Venditti (Aironi Rugby)
13 Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Treviso)
12 Gonzalo Canale (Clermont Auvergne)
11 Luke McLean (Benetton Treviso)
10 Kristopher Burton (Benetton Treviso)
9 Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso)
1 Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing-Metro Paris)
2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso)
3 Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers)
4 Quintin Geldenhuys (Aironi Rugby)
5 Marco Bortolami (Aironi Rugby)
6 Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Treviso)
7 Robert Barbieri (Benetton Treviso)
8 Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais) (c)

16 Tommaso D'Apice (Aironi Rugby)
17 Lorenzo Cittadini (Benetton Treviso)
18 Antonio Pavanello (Benetton Treviso)
19 Mauro Bergamasco (Aironi Rugby)
20 Fabio Semenzato (Benetton Treviso)
21 Tobias Botes (Benetton Treviso)
22 Luca Morisi (BancaMonte Parma Crociati)