Fitness race for Checchinato

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The Independent Online

The veteran forward Carlo Checchinato is the principal doubt for the Italy side preparing to face Wales.

The veteran forward Carlo Checchinato is the principal doubt for the Italy side preparing to face Wales.

Checchinato, who equalled Alessandro Troncon's record of 83 caps for the Azzurri in the 19-3 defeat to Ireland at the weekend, has already announced that he will end his 14-year international career after the match. He was named in the team but Roberto Mandelli stands by to fill the No 8 jersey in case Checchinato,who sustained an injury to a bone in his left foot during the Ireland game, does not recover in time.

Fabio Ongaro will start as hooker, although it is not clear whether Stefano Saviozzi or Carlo Festuccia will deputise on the bench. It was Festuccia whose disastrous line-out throw allowed Malcolm O'Kelly to score a game-changing try for Ireland in Dublin.

ITALY (Six Nations' Championship match v Wales, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Saturday): Canale (Treviso); Mazzucato (Calvisano), Masi (Viadana), Stoica (Montpellier), Dallan (Treviso); De Marigny (Overmach Parma), Griffen (Calvisano); Lo Cicero (Lazio), Ongaro (Treviso), Castrogiovanni (Calvisano), Dellape (Treviso), Bortolami (Padova), De Rossi (Calvisano, capt), Persico (Leeds), Checchinato (Treviso) /Mandelli (Calvisano). Replacements: Saviozzi (Treviso)/ Festuccia (SK Gran Parma), Perugini (Calvisano), Del Fava (Overmach Parma), Orlando, Picone (both Treviso), Wakarua (Brescia), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Français).

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