Italy did not exceed expectations at this autumn's World Cup as they failed to qualify for the quarter-finals after a third-place finish in Group D.
Having finished fifth in this year's Six Nations with only one win to their name, against Scotland, the Azzurri have launched their bid to rebuild ahead of the 2019 World Cup in Japan with 18 potential debutants, 14 of whom have never been called up to the squad before.
While most selected players ply their trade at Italy's two Celtic League teams – Treviso and Zebre – seven of the squad play in the Italian national league, the Eccellenza, according to a statement by the Italian rugby federation (FIR) on Monday.
Italy veteran Mauro Bergamasco, who became only the second player to compete in five World Cups, urged FIR bosses last month to begin planning for Japan 2019 now.
“They have to plan, that is crucial,” Bergamasco said prior to waving goodbye to professional rugby.
“We need to plan and organize a strategy for the next four years and reach the World Cup in the best condition possible.”
Italy's squad will convene in Treviso on November 23rd, albeit without the players contracted to non-Italian clubs, including captain and Stade Francais hooker Sergio Parisse.
Italy training camp squad (*marks squad debutant):
Valerio Bernabo, George Biagi, Dean Budd (*), Pietro Ceccarelli (*), Dario Chistolini, Tommaso D'Apice, Alberto De Marchi, Simone Ferrari (*), Marco Fuser, Ornell Gega (*), Quintin Geldenhuys, Marco Lazzaroni (*), Andrea Lovotti (*), Andrea Manici, Maxime Mbanda (*), Francesco Minto, Abraham Steyn (*), Andries Van Schalkwyk (*), Alessandro Zanni, Matteo Zanusso (*)
Mattia Bellini (*), Giulio Bisegni, Tommaso Boni (*), Andrea Buondonno (*), Carlo Canna, Tommaso Castello (*), Gonzalo Garcia, Edoardo Gori, Luke McLean, Andrea Menniti-Ippolito (*), David Odiete (*), Edoardo Padovani (*), Guglielmo Palazzani, Andrea Pratichetti, Leonardo Sarto, Marco Susio (*), Marcello Violi, Michele Visentin
Palazzani, Andrea Pratichetti, Leonardo Sarto, Marco Susio (*), Marcello
Violi, Michele Visentin