Photo: The Canadian Press
NICE, France (AP) — Uruguay is looking to one of its most experienced players as it prepares to take on Italy at the Rugby World Cup.
Wing Gaston Mieres has been named in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s crucial clash, one of only two changes from the team that impressed in a 27-12 loss to France in their World Cup opener.
With New Zealand also in Pool A, the best Italy and Uruguay are likely to achieve is third place and a direct spot at the next World Cup.
Uruguay has never won more than one match during any World Cup, but a win against Italy would go a long way toward ending that streak as it also has Namibia left to play.
The 33-year-old Mieres has played more than 80 times for his country and this is his third World Cup.
Hooker German Kessler, who will also be playing in his third World Cup, is the only other change to the lineup that went toe-to-toe at times against France last week in an unexpectedly ferocious battle.
Italy coach Kieran Crowley has made four changes to the team that beat Namibia 52-8 in their opener in a scoreline that flattered the Azzurri.
Crowley has brought in Marco Riccioni, Niccolò Cannone, Alessandro Garbisi and Lorenzo Pani, with the latter making his World Cup debut.
But perhaps the biggest surprise is moving Paolo Garbisi — Alessandro’s older brother — from flyhalf to center. It will be Garbisi’s first ever test match as No. 12.
That allows Ange Capuozzo to play in his best position as fullback, while Tommaso Allan returns to flyhalf.
“We worked well during the week. We are in a World Cup, every match has its importance, its difficulties and its history,” Crowley said. “The preparation for the match against Uruguay was good. We will be focused on our performance.”
The Azzurri start with two sets of brothers in a World Cup game for the first time as Lorenzo Cannone — Niccolò’s younger sibling — has again been selected at No. 8.
Italy: Ange Capuozzo, Lorenzo Pani, Juan Ignacio Brex, Paolo Garbisi, Montanna Ioane, Tommaso Allan, Alessandro Garbisi, Lorenzo Cannone, Michele Lamaro (captain), Sebastian Negri, Federico Ruzza, Niccolò Cannone, Marco Riccioni, Giacomo Nicotera, Danilo Fisichetti. Reserves: Luca Bigi, Federico Zani, Pietro Ceccarelli, Dino Lamb, Manuel Zuliani, Giovanni Pettinelli, Alessandro Fusco, Paolo Odogwu.
Uruguay: Baltazar Amaya, Gaston Mieres, Tomas Inciarte, Andres Vilaseca (captain), Nicolas Freitas, Felipe Etcheverry, Santiago Arata; Manuel Diana, Santiago Civetta, Manuel Ardao, Manuel Leindekar, Felipe Aliaga, Ignacio Peculo, German Kessler, Mateo Sanguinetti. Reserves: Guillermo Pujadas, Facundo Gattas, Diego Arbelo, Ignacio Dotti, Carlos Deus, Agustin Ormaechea, Felipe Berchesi, Bautista Basso.
AP Rugby World Cup: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby