Castrogiovanni returns for Six Nations

by staff

Leicester Tigers tight-head prop Martin Castrogiovanni returns to the Italy side for this weekend's crucial Six Nations finale against Scotland at the Stadio Olimpico.

The popular front-rower was one of six changes announced by French coach Jacques Brunel on Wednesday.

Young backs Giovanbattista Venditti, Tomasso Benvenuti and Edoardo Gori also reclaimed positions in a youthful backline.

Experienced former Gloucester captain Marco Bortolami came back in at lock while Robert Barbieri regained his place at flanker.

Australian-born back Luke McLean and South African-born second rower Cornelius van Zyl were two of those dropped and miss out altogether.

It means lock Joshua Furno, who was born in Australia but brought up in Italy, gets the chance to possibly earn a second cap as he starts on the bench.

Italy and Scotland have both lost all four tournament matches so far and are playing to avoid the wooden spoon, which the Azzurri have finished with in nine out of their 12 seasons in the Six Nations.

Italy: Andrea Masi (Aironi); Giovanbattista Venditti (Aironi), Tommaso Benvenuti (Treviso), Gonzalo Canale (Clermont/FRA), Mirco Bergamasco (Racing-Metro/FRA); Kris Burton (Aironi), Edoardo Gori (Aironi); Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA/capt), Robert Barbieri (Treviso), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso); Marco Bortolami (Aironi), Quintin Geldenhuys (Aironi); Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester/ENG), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso), Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing-Metro/FRA)

Replacements: Tommaso D'Apice (Aironi), Lorenzo Cittadini (Treviso), Joshua Furno (Aironi), Simone Favaro (Aironi Rugby), Manoa Vosawai (Treviso), Tobias Botes (Treviso), Giulio Toniolatti (Aironi)