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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 14:39 GMT
Troncon earns Six Nations return
Italy scrum-half Alessandro Troncon
Troncon's experience will be vital for the Azurri
Italy coach Pierre Berbizier has recalled scrum-half Alessandro Troncon to the squad for their Six Nations matches against France and England.

The former captain is Italy's most capped player with 90 appearances.

But his career seemed to have ended after a 56-13 defeat to France at the end of the 2005 Six Nations.

"Alessandro is an important player with great international experience and that's what makes a difference at this level," said Berbizier.

"I think he's still got a lot to give, particularly in helping to develop our younger players.

"Italy don't have the same depth of international experience that other Six Nations sides have, so I think we should draw on any player that can give us an advantage."

Troncon's return to the squad gives Berbizier an alternative to Paul Griffen, who failed to impress in the Autumn Tests against Australia, Argentina and Canada.

Gloucester lock Marco Bortolami continues as captain

Last year, Italy held second-half leads against France, England and Ireland, but finished with just one point from an 18-18 draw against Wales.

They begin their Six Nations campaign at home to France on 3 February and visit Twickenham a week later.

"The first two matches will be extremely important for us," said Berbizier.

"They will set the tone for the rest of the competition. We certainly can't afford to be intimidated. If we play defensively, we will lose badly."


Italy squad

Forwards: M Bortolami (Gloucester), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester), S Dellape (Biarritz), C Festuccia (GRAN Parma), M Bergamasco (Stade Francais), S Parisse (S Francais), S Perugini (Toulouse), V Bernabo (Calvisano), M Zaffiri (Calvisano), A Zanni (Calvisano), F Ongaro (Saracens), A Lo Cicero (L'Aquila), J Sole (Viadana), C Nieto (Gloucester).

Backs: G Canale (Clermont-Auvergne), A Scanavacca (Calvisano), P Griffen (Calvisano), M Bergamasco (Stade Francais), R Pez (Bayonne), K Robertson (Viadana), A Masi (Biarritz), D Dallan (Stade Francais), R De Marigny (Calvisano), A Troncon (Clermont-Auvergne).

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