By Phil Caplan, Date: 6/7/12
Germany and Italy have named their squads for the fourth game of the 2012-13 European Shield, to be held in Piacenza on Saturday, and Italy coach Paul Broadbent and his opposite number Dan Stocks, have both made six changes from their last time out in the competition.
The Italians are missing Rhys Lenarduzzi since playing in Belgrade last month but are bolstered by the recall of Bradford-based hooker Jonathon Marcinczak, who missed the trip to Serbia and the debut of South Wales Scorpions lock Chris Vitalini.
Marcinczak, who played in the 2013 World Cup qualifiers in October, will provide guidance to a trio of young newcomers, Burkina Faso-born forward Nourou Bance, halfback Thomas Piscitelli and utility Giacomo Alfonsi – all of whom have been called up following eye-catching seasons in the domestic Serie A season.
Italy assistant coach Kelly Rolleston is looking forward to the match up against the holders. â€œWe are pleased that after our domestic competition some new faces have come through;â€ he said. â€œitâ€™s been better preparation and progression. We have seen some good progress but it will be tested on Saturday when we come up against a more experienced German side.â€
The Germansâ€™ changes are remarkably similar. For Lenarduzzi, read Damien Seibold, the experienced pivot who marshalled the Germans so capably against Serbia and Russia, but who has returned to Australia. They too welcome the recall of an experienced dummy-half, Josh Danzey, who has flown back from the Queensland Cup especially to play in the match, and Stocks has called up an experienced British-based hand in London Skolarsâ€™ Andy McLean.
â€œIt will be a really tough test; however if we play the way I know we are capable of then I am confident we will be competitive,â€ said Stocks.
Half his squad come from Heidelberg, with the Lionsâ€™ Vincent Spies recalled after missing the Russia game through injury and dynamic youngster Ali Surer introduced to representative rugby league after impressing in the Bundesliga.
Leeds Rhino Jimmy Keinhorst, a hat-trick man against Russia, is unavailable but his brothers Nick and Kristian and Fabrice Fehlemann are all veterans from Germanyâ€™s two previous meetings with Italy, both European Shield defeats, in 2008 in Padova and 2009 in Cologne.
Italy, upset in sweltering conditions in Belgrade, will be looking to get off the mark in what is the tightest of competitions. Currently in fourth place, a 13-point win will see the Azzurri top the table, while Germany will seek to complete their 2012 international season with a second victory.
The match, which kicks off at 1800 hrs, will be preceded by an inaugural clash between the respective Under-18s.
ITALY 19-MAN SQUAD
Michele Sutto (Arieti Este), Fabrizio Ciaurro, Thomas Piscitelli (Brescia), Remi Fontana (Cavaillon), Giacomo Alfonsi, Nourou Bance, Ivan Barani, Fabio Berzieri, Giovanni Franchi, Octavian Ilinca, Drake Muyodi, Davide Rancati (Ducato Piacenza), Stefano Cardella, Rodrigo Marchesi, Christofer De Meyer, Gert Peens (XIII del Duomo Milan), Chris Vitalini (South Wales Scorpion), Cedric Prizzon (Villefranche de Rouergue), Jonathan Marcinczak (unattached)
GERMANY 20-MAN SQUAD
Christoph Huber (Bad Reichenhall), Sebastian Roczyn (Baden Pirates), Ben Behr-Heyder, Liam Doughton, Fabrice Fehlemann (Cologne), Mawuli Amefia, Jerome Himmer, Bene Rehm (Heidelberg Hornets), Yassin Ayachi, Markus Bendner, Loris Geibel, Daniel Lortz, Vincent Spies, Florian Stockert, Ali Surer (Heidelberg Lions), Dan Stocks (Hemel Stags), Nick Keinhorst, Kristian Keinhorst (Leeds Akkies), Andy Mclean (London Skolars), Joshua Danzey (Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles)