Six Nations: Italy full-back Matteo Minozzi rules himself out of squad, four uncapped players included | Rugby Union News

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Franco Smith includes four uncapped players in his Italy squad but will be unable to call on Wasps’ full-back Matteo Minozzi; the Azzurri begin their Six Nations campaign at home to France, on February 6, followed by a trip to Twickenham to face England

Last Updated: 25/01/21 4:14pm

Matteo Minozzi did not want to be included in Italy’s Six Nations squad as he feels mentally and physically tired

Italy head coach Franco Smith has named four uncapped players in a 32-man squad for the Six Nations, but will be without star full-back Matteo Minozzi.

Smith has called up prop Daniele Rimpelli and hooker Marco Manfredi of Zebre for the first time, along with Mogliano Rugby second row Riccardo Favretto and Benetton centre Juan Ignacio Brex.

But Wasps player Minozzi, who has scored 11 tries in 22 caps for his country, wrote on social media that he was too physically and mentally tired to live in a bubble for another two months.

Brex and Benetton team-mates Tommaso Allan, Callum Braley, Marco Riccioni and Federico Ruzza will join up with the squad on Sunday, allowing them to feature in their club’s Pro 14 clash with Munster on January 30.

The Azzurri open their Six Nations campaign at home to France on Saturday February 6, before taking on England at Twickenham a week later.

“The two meetings [between Benetton and Zebre in the PRO14] in Parma and Treviso gave us useful information to help start camp in the best possible way to prepare for the 2021 Guinness Six Nations,” said Smith.

“We have a united and strong group that will help integrate the new players who have already had the chance to savour the atmosphere of our camps.

“From Sunday, with the arrival of the players released to Benetton, the squad will be complete and we will continue preparing for the match against France.”

As well as the 32-man squad that will compete in the Six Nations, five further players will join the training camp.

Italy head coach Franco Smith has named a 32-man Six Nations squad

Italy head coach Franco Smith has named a 32-man Six Nations squad

Backs (13)
Callum Braley, Guglielmo Palazzani, Stephen Varney, Tommaso Allan, Carlo Canna, Paolo Garbisi, Mattia Bellini, Juan Ignacio Brex, Monty Ioane, Federico Mori, Luca Sperandio, Jacopo Trulla, Marco Zanon

Forwards (19)
Pietro Ceccarelli, Danilo Fischetti, Marco Riccioni, Daniele Rimpelli, Cherif Traore, Giosuè Zilocchi, Luca Bigi, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Marco Manfredi, Niccolò Cannone, Riccardo Favretto, Marco Lazzaroni, David Sisi, Cristian Stoian, Michele Lamaro, Maxime Mbanda, Johan Meyer, Sebastian Negri, Federico Ruzza

Additional invited players (5)
Michelangelo Biondelli, Tommaso Boni, Renato Giammarioli, Tommaso Menoncello, Marcello Violi

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