Gower injury could hand Italy chance to Bocchino

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The Independent Online

The Italy head coach Nick Mallett has named his 24-man squad ahead of the RBS Six Nations opener against Ireland at Croke Park on Saturday.

Bayonne fly-half Craig Gower has been included in the squad but is doubtful for the match as he is struggling with a knock to his left knee. That means uncapped Rovigo stand-off Riccardo Bocchino could make his Azzurri debut in Dublin.

Antonio Pavanello, Simone Favaro, Manoa Vosawai, Andrea Marcato, Matteo Pratichetti and Michele Sepe have joined Italy's A team for the match against England Saxons in Treviso the following day.

South African Rugby Union president Oregan Hoskins is to meet with 2010 World Cup chiefs amid concerns over the prospect of staging the Super 14 final on South African soil later this year. The final is scheduled for 29 May, the day after football's world governing body Fifa is due to take control of all the grounds used for the World Cup – many of which are home to Super Rugby teams.

The venue for the Super 14 final is decided by the highest-seeded team to reach the showpiece event, with that honour last year going to South African side Blue Bulls.

A repeat scenario in 2010 would cause logistical problems for Fifa, and Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the World Cup organising committee, has requested a meeting with SARU to discuss the potential clash.

Hoskins said: "Danny Jordaan has asked for a meeting with me because I understand he has some reservations about the common use of stadiums and the logistics around that.

South Africa officials are already trying to find a venue for the international Test against France on 12 June, which was due to be held in Cape Town, and are thought to be considering a switch to Wembley Stadium.