Rugby: Azzurri, Bravehearts to tinker with tactics in S'pore Test

The Azzurri's head coach Conor O'Shea has named a 31-man squad take on the Scots in Singapore and beyond.
The Azzurri's head coach Conor O'Shea has named a 31-man squad take on the Scots in Singapore and beyond.PHOTO: AFP

The June 10 rugby Test match at Singapore's National Stadium will give Italy and Scotland a chance to try out new players and tactics.

The Azzurri's head coach Conor O'Shea has named a 31-man squad, including four uncapped forwards, to take on the Scots in Singapore and in further matches against Fiji in Suva (June 17) and the Australian Wallabies in Brisbane (June 24).

For the Irish tactician, the tour will be an opportunity to try out the newcomers as well as to tinker with tactics for the 15th-ranked team.

He said: "We are also making changes within our system which we feel will benefit Italian rugby both in the short and long term but no one is under any illusions about the task ahead.

"Once we start doing that, and playing with the intensity and focus that we aspire to, we will become the team that both we and all our supporters desire."

Scotland's new head coach Gregor Townsend has picked three uncapped players in his 34-man Scotland squad for next month's three-Test summer tour, the first under his stewardship. The Bravehearts will meet Italy, Australia's Wallabies in Sydney (June 17) and Fiji in Suva (June 24).

Townsend believes it will be a challenge for the world No. 5 team to adapt to conditions in tropical Singapore.

He said: "Playing Italy in Singapore will be a very different prospect from taking them on in Edinburgh or Rome, and it will be a challenge for both teams to adapt to the new surroundings.

"Italy are a team we know well and we can expect it to be a very competitive match."

The game will be the first Test match to be hosted in the Republic and it will be useful to the two European sides already qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Singapore Rugby Union president Low Teo Ping believes Singapore is ready to give the two European sides a warm reception, saying: "We have fans from as far afield as Hong Kong and even China contacting us for block bookings.

"To make it an evening to remember, there will also be top-class live entertainment on offer, plus food and beverage with an Italian twist and a Scottish flavour to keep every fan engaged and entertained."

Wang Meng Meng

•All tickets attract a booking fee and are available from sportshub.com.sg/ITAvSCO

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2017, with the headline 'Azzurri, Bravehearts to tinker with tactics in S'pore Test'. Print Edition | Subscribe