Stephen Varney: Wales-born scrum-half to make full Italy debut against country of his birth

Wales-born Stephen Varney will make a first Test start for Italy in Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup playoff against the country of his birth.

The Gloucester scrum-half was brought up in Pembrokeshire but qualifies for Italy through family connections on his mother’s side.

Varney, 19, made appearances off the bench in Italy’s Nations Cup games against Scotland and France last month.

But the Scarlets academy product, whose father Adrian played as a flanker for Neath and Aberavon, will now line up from the start against Wales in Llanelli when both countries conclude their autumn fixtures.

Elsewhere, Italy head coach Franco Smith has handed a Test debut to wing Monty Ioane, while Jacopo Trulla moves to full-back.

Ioane, born in Australia and the nephew of former Wallabies back Digby Ioane, qualified for Italy this month on the three-year residency rule.

Wales and Italy are playing for fifth place in the tournament, which concludes at Twickenham on Sunday with the final between England and France.

“We want to end the tournament in the best possible way,” said Smith.

Live Tri-Nations Rugby

December 5, 2020, 8:15am

Live on

“We have a new opportunity to be able to take the field and try to show our worth.

“Wales are an experienced team and need no introduction, and the focus must be on our performance.”

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac has made nine changes to his starting line-up with George North named at centre.

Italy: 15 Jacopo Trulla, 14 Luca Sperandio, 13 Marco Zanon, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Montanna Ioane, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Stephen Varney; 1 Danilo Fischetti, 2 Luca Bigi (c), 3 Giosu Zilocchi, 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 5 Niccol Cannone, 6 Maxime Mbanda, 7 Johan Meyer, 8 Braam Steyn.

Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Simone Ferrari, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Cristian Stoian, 20 Michele Lamaro, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Federico Mori.

Source: Read Full Article