Mirco Bergamasco

Back in the groove: Mirco Bergamasco lines up a kick at goal during last year's World Cup

MIRCO BERGAMASCO will make his long-awaited return from injury and line up for Italy in their RBS 6 Nations match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

The winger’s return is one of seven changes made by coach Jacques Brunel from the side that lost to Ireland. In the forwards, prop Andrea Lo Cicero, lock Cornelius van Zyl and flanker Fabio Semenzato come back in.

The half-back pairing has changed with Fabio Semenzato and Kris Burton starting at nine and ten respectively while Gonzalo Canale returns at outside-centre.

Bergamasco has also defended Burton, who has been heavily criticised, along with Tobias Botes, for Italy’s goalkicking during the championship. Bergamasco was Italy’s regular kicker before injury ruled him out of the start of the Six Nations and he says: ”Kris hasn’t messed up much so far. We mustn’t point the finger at the kickers we have now.

“We’re working hard every day to try to do well every weekend. The important thing is to have competition between three or four kickers and on Saturday our kicking must be better.”

ITALY TEAM TO PLAY WALES, SATURDAY 10 MARCH, MILLENNIUM STADIUM

15. Andrea Masi
14. Luke McLean
13. Gonzalo Canale
12. Alberto Sgarbi
11. Mirco Bergamasco
10. Kristopher Burton
9. Fabio Semenzato
1. Andrea Lo Cicero
2. Leonardo Ghiraldini
3. Lorenzo Cittadini
4. Quintin Geldenhuys
5. Cornelius Van Zyl
6. Alessandro Zanni
7. Simone Favaro
8. Sergio Parisse

Replacements:
16 Tommaso D’Apice
17 Fabio Staibano
18 Marco Bortolami
19 Robert Barbieri
20 Tobias Botes
21 Tommaso Benvenuti
22 Giulio Toniolatti