Rugby: Vosawai replaces banned Parisse for Italy
Castrogiovanni to captain Azzurri against Wales21 February, 17:19
It is a massive blow for Italy, who upset France 23-18 in Rome in their opener but lost 34-10 in Scotland last time out, as the 29-year-old is considered one of the best number eights in the world. Vosawai, who has 10 caps, will take over from Parisse at the back of the scrum, while Brunel has given the captain's armband to prop Martin Castrogiovanni. "I think we can win this match even without Parisse," Brunel said about the loss of his captain, who denied the disciplinary charge.
"His ban is an injustice but we have to move forward and face Wales without thinking about Sergio's absence.
"Lots of players have an influence on the game. Parisse is certainly an important element, but he's not the only one".
Brunel said it was a good omen that Castrogiovanni is returning as captain after skippering the side in wins over Canada and United States last year. "We won two matches out of two with him as captain," said Brunel.
"If we keep up this average, we'll win the tournament".
Vosawai's entry into the starting line-up was one of four changes. Kristopher Burton takes over at flyhalf from Luciano Orquera, who was man of the match against France but gave an error-strewn showing in Scotland.
Edoardo Gori starts ahead of Tobias Botes at scrumhalf to form a new half-back combination. Lock Antonio Pavanello comes in for Quintin Geldenhuys.
After facing Wales, who lost to Ireland and beat France in their previous games, Italy take on England at Twickenham on March 10 and Ireland back at Rome's Stadio Olimpico March 16.
The Azzurri are fifth in the Six Nations table, two points ahead of pointless France and two behind leaders England. Italy team: 15 Andrea Masi (London Wasps, 74 Caps), 14 Giovanbattista Venditti (Zebre Rugby, 11 Caps), 13 Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Treviso, 25 Caps), 12 Gonzalo Canale (La Rochelle, 79 Caps), 11 Luke Mclean (Benetton Treviso, 43 Caps), 10 Kristopher Burton (Benetton Treviso, 20 Caps), 9 Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso, 21 Caps); 8 Manoa Vosawai (Benetton Treviso, 10 Caps), 7 Simone Favaro (Benetton Treviso, 18 Caps), 6 Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Treviso, 71 Caps), 5 Francesco Minto (Benetton Treviso, 4 Caps), 4 Antonio Pavanello (Benetton Treviso, 15 Caps), 3 Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers, 93 Caps - Captain), 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso, 50 Caps), 1 Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing-Metro Paris, 100 caps). Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon (Zebre Rugby, 7 Caps), 17 Alberto De Marchi (Benetton Treviso, 6 Caps), 18 Lorenzo Cittadini (Benetton Treviso, 18 Caps), 19 Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre Rugby, 35 Caps), 20 Paul Edward Derbyshire (Benetton Treviso, 18 Caps), 21 Tobias Botes (Benetton Treviso, 10 Caps), 22 Luciano Orquera (Zebre Rugby, 31 Caps), 23 Gonzalo Garcia (Zebre Rugby, 25 Caps).