ROME (AP) — Flanker Paul Derbyshire and midfielder Gonzalo Garcia were called up to Italy's Six Nations squad on Thursday, returning to the national team for the first time since the 2011 World Cup.
Coach Jacques Brunel selected 30 players for the Azzurri's opening matches against France at the Stadio Olimpico on Feb. 3 and at Scotland on Feb. 9. Derbyshire is yet to play under Brunel, with his last cap coming in October 2011 against Ireland at the World Cup.
"I hope this is the right chance for him," Brunel said. " With center Mirco Bergamasco out injured, Zebre captain Gonzalo Garcia also returns for the first time since the same World Cup game. "Garcia provides another kicking option," Brunel said.
Of the 31 players used in the November tests, 27 remained in the squad. Paolo Buso, a backline utility, returned to the team after five years and one cap, an appearance as a replacement flyhalf against Wales in the 2008 Six Nations.
Prop Andrea Lo Cicero could gain his 100th cap at Murrayfield. In the November tests, Italy beat Tonga and performed well in losses to New Zealand and Australia. "In November we showed our will to win and I just hope we keep moving in that direction," Brunel said.
In last year's Six Nations, Italy beat Scotland for its only win, having also lost by just four points to England. "I think it's still too soon for Italy to fight for overall victory, but I'm hoping that after having won at home against Scotland and nearly beating England we'll have a better chance of getting results with three matches at home," Brunel said. "Anyhow, the most important thing for me will be to continue seeing my squad ambitious and imposing its game."
Italy's other home matches are against Wales and Ireland.
Forwards: Martin Castrogiovanni, Lorenzo Cittadini, Alberto De Marchi, Andrea Lo Cicero, Michele Rizzo, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Davide Giazzon, Joshua Furno, Quintin Geldenhuys, Francesco Minto, Antonio Pavanello, Robert Barbieri, Paul Derbyshire, Simone Favaro, Sergio Parisse (captain), Ratu Manoa Seru Vosawai, Alessandro Zanni. Backs: Tobias Botes, Edoardo Gori, Kristopher Burton, Luciano Orquera, Tommaso Benvenuti, Paolo Buso, Gonzalo Canale, Gonzalo Garcia, Tommaso Iannone, Andrea Masi, Luke McLean, Alberto Sgarbi, Giovanbattista Venditti.