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Last Updated: Friday, 28 January, 2005, 13:39 GMT
Six Nations Team Guide - Italy
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England France Ireland Italy Scotland Wales

Anthem: Inno di Marmeli (Song of Mameli)

6N History (2000-04): Wooden spoon for first three years, but fifth last two years. Three victories in all.

Coach: All Black legend John Kirwan is now all blue. Spent some of his playing days in the country, married an Italian and took over the reins of his adopted country in 2002.

Marco Bortolami
Age: 24
Caps: 31
Tries: 1
Captain: Forward Marco Bortolami was a controversial choice last November that led former skipper Alessandro Troncon to storm off in a Latin strop.

Big man: Andrea Lo Cicero. A cool, calm, colossus who is the cornerstone of the pack. His Sicilian upbringing adds a certain aura and there's a mafioso mood to his eye at times.

Aaron Persico
Mi stai guardando? Sparisci!
Enforcer: Mr Timid off the pitch, Aaron Persico is a changed man on it. A picture of perpetual motion, he's never far from the action and normally in the thick of it.

Brains and brawn: The skipper's a braniac in a brute's body. Bortolami's a pan-European juggler combining club rugby in France, university studies in Italy and international captaincy.

Southern intruders: There's a Kiwi twang to Italian acccents in training and Kirwan has been followed north by the likes of Persico, Rima Wakarua, Paul Griffen and Kaine Robertson.

Mauro Bergamasco
Bergamasco's locks fly in the face of Italian stylish sophistication
Bad hair day: There's a lot of lank, long hair in the Italian camp, but Mauro "The Mop" Bergamasco cleans up ahead of scrum-half Griffen.

Bogey fixture: Most of them, particularly away from home. That said, they will fancy their chances of breaking their duck on the road at Murrayfield.

Prospects: Despite having three games at home against Ireland, Wales and France, that date in Scotland is the most likely victory, otherwise it's the wooden spoon.

Odds to win title: 500-1.




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