Ian McKinley makes it to Italy squad for November Tests

Ian McKinley (right) came out of retirement despite blindness in one eye
Ian McKinley (right) came out of retirement despite blindness in one eye
©PA

Italy head coach Conor O'Shea has announced a 34-man squad for the autumn international clashes against Fiji, Argentina, and South Africa.

Benetton Treviso fly-half Ian McKinley, who was forced to retire with a lost eyesight six-years back is among the five uncapped players selected in the squad.

McKinley was forced to end his career during his stint with Leinster in 2011 when he sustained a blow to his left eye but returned back to action despite blindness in one eye in 2014 using specially manufactured goggles.

Full-back Matteo Minozzi, New Zealand-born centre Jayden Hayward and back-rowers Renato Giammarioli and Giovanni Licata will also be in contention to make their Italy debut along with McKinley. The squad also sees the return of skipper Sergio Parisse and hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini, who missed the summer tour.

O'Shea wants to use the upcoming clashes as a platform to help his team regain their competitiveness at the top most level.

"We have our feet on the ground and we know very well how tough the upcoming games will be," said O'Shea.

"But we're also conscious of the fact that we're making significant progress towards our goal, which is to again become an extremely competitive team at international level."

Italy will take on Fiji, Argentina and South Africa on 11th, 18th and 25th November.

Italy squad:

Forwards: Dario Chistolini (Zebre Rugby), Simone Ferrari (Benetton Rugby), Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby), Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton Rugby), Federico Zani (Benetton Rugby), Luca Bigi (Benetton Rugby), Oliviero Fabiani (Zebre Rugby), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Toulouse/FRA), George Fabio Biagi (Zebre Rugby), Dean Budd (Benetton Rugby), Marco Fuser (Benetton Rugby), Marco Lazzaroni (Benetton Rugby), Federico Ruzza (Benetton Rugby), Renato Giammarioli (Zebre Rugby Club), Giovanni Licata (Fiamme Oro), Maxime Mata Mbanda (Zebre Rugby), Francesco Minto (Benetton Rugby), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais/FRA), Abraham Steyn (Benetton Rugby).

Backs: Edoardo Gori (Benetton Rugby), Tito Tebaldi (Benetton Rugby), Marcello Violi (Zebre Rugby Club), Carlo Canna (Zebre Rugby), Ian McKinley (Benetton Rugby), Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Rugby), Tommaso Boni (Zebre Rugby), Tommaso Castello (Zebre Rugby Club), Jayden Hayward (Benetton Rugby), Mattia Bellini (Zebre Rugby), Angelo Esposito (Benetton Rugby), Leonardo Sarto (Glasgow/SCO), Giovambattista Venditti (Zebre Rugby), Matteo Minozzi (Zebre Rugby Club), Edoardo Padovani (Toulon/FRA).

 

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Italy Squad