A new-look Italy make their bow in this year’s competition on the back of their 2013 World Cup exploits, facing Ukraine in Gemona tomorrow (Saturday) who are looking for their first success in their third match.
For the first time, seven Italian clubs are represented in the 20-man squad, with an initial contingent from Lions Brescia.
In all there are seven newcomers to the home ranks, which Azzurri coach Kelly Rollaston sees as confirmation of the strength of the domestic game.
“It’s great to see new teams come through in our domestic competition, which has been very even,” he said. “We know that the matches at home in the Euros are vital for success in this tournament but we are taking nothing for granted. Ukraine have been competitive in all their games so far.”
“It is also important for FIRL to be taking the match into a new territory where we have been warmly welcomed. This is a really positive development for the sport here on a number of fronts.”
His opposite number, Ukraine coach Gennadiy Veprik, is upbeat despite away defeats in Serbia and, narrowly, Russia.
“We are missing a few important players but we are not coming here to surrender,” he noted. “Our young players are up for the struggle and we do not intend to make it easy for the home team.”
ITALY 20-MAN SQUAD
Stefano Amura, Simone Boscolo (Ariete), Remi Fontana (Carpentras), Thomas Piscitelli, Pierangelo Ceretti, Giuseppe Pagani, Luca Milani, Andrea Jacotti (Lions Brescia), Luca Ameglio, Gioele Celerino, Chris De Meyer, Gert Peens (NW Roosters), Jonathan Marcinczak, (Racing Club Albi), Joel Miranda (Realmont), Chris Vitalini (South Wales Scorpians), Fabrizio Ciaurro (Tirreno Sharks), Riccardo Candurra (Torino XIII), Medhi Idammou (XIII Della Ghirlandina), Raffaele Dalla Ragione, Diego Del Nevo (XIII Del Ducato)
Troian Mykhailo, Kozak Oleksandr, Skorbach Oleksandr, Bashevskyi Andrii, Vepryk Bogdan, Felko Vitalii, Shevtsov Sergii, Karpenko Volodymyr, Kardakov Pavlo, Martyrosyan Artur (Legion XIII -Kharkov), Iurkin Igor, Mazepa Volodymyr, Pozhydaiev Danilo, Chernyak Mykhaylo (Titans – Donetsk), Dudka Yevhenii, Butov Kostiantyn (Rhinos – Krivoi Rog), Shevtsov Igor (Storm – Kharkov)