14 Oct 2022
What are the teams for Italy v Scotland men at the Rugby League World Cup?
How will Italy and Scotland line up for their clash in Newcastle?
By Paul Eddison
Italy and Scotland will face off in the Group B opener in a match that both teams will have been targeting coming into the Rugby League World Cup 2021.
With defending champions Australia and 2017 semi-finalists Fiji rounding out the group, the schedule will not get any easier so both Italy coach Leo Epifania and opposite number Nathan Graham will be desperate to get off to a winning start.
The Azzurri are led by Nathan Brown, fresh from playing in the NRL Grand Final, coming out on the losing side for Paramatta Eels. He is back after playing in the 2017 edition, but Italy are without their vice-captain from that tournament, with James Tedesco now captaining the Kangaroos who await in their final group game.
Scotland, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back after failing to win a match five years ago, although Graham admits he does not have much of an idea of what to expect from the Azzurri in Newcastle on Sunday.
Italy: 1 Luke Polselli, 2 Richard Lepori, 3 Daniel Atkinson, 4 Ethan Natoli, 5 Jake Maizen, 6 Jack Campagnolo, 7 Radean Robinson, 10 Anton Iaria, 9 Dean Parata, 15 Luca Moretti, 11 Ryan King, 12 Brenden Santi, 13 Nathan Brown (captain), 14 Joey Tramontana, 16 Gioele Celerino, 19 Luke Hodge, 20 Jack Colovatti, 18 Kyle Pickering, 17 Ronnie Palumbo
Scotland: 11 Euan Aitken, 15 Luke Bain, 8 Logan Bayliss-Brow, 13 James Bell, 7 Ryan Brierley, 4 Keiran Buchanan, 20 Davey Dixon, 24 Dale Ferguson (captain), 19 Calum Gahan, 6 Bailey Hayward, 3 Ben Hellewell, 9 Liam Hood, 12 Kane Linnett, 14 Kyle Schneider, 18 Jack Teanby, 5 Lachlan Walmsley
The teams have faced off twice before with Scotland winning the first of those encounters 104-0 back in 2009. It was a very different story when they met four years later at the 2013 World Cup in Workington, the sides playing out an entertaining 30-30 draw with current Scotland player Ben Hellewell scoring two tries on the day.
Scotland prop Guy Graham is the son of former dual-code international George Graham. Guy represented Scotland at Under-20s in union before switching to league, while his older brother Gary is a full union international.
READ MORE: Six players to watch at the Rugby League World Cup
The Azzurri have won four of six matches since the 2017 World Cup including a 34-4 win over Spain that secured their place here. Their most recent outing saw them beaten 25-4 by Ireland in Dublin however.
Scotland are unbeaten in their last three international matches, with wins over Serbia and Greece as well as a 30-30 draw against Jamaica last October. They were beaten 28-4 by England Knights in a warm-up game in Edinburgh. They are ranked 15th in the world, two spots ahead of their Group B opponents.
Players to watch
- Scotland’s Ben Hellewell has scored one try in each of his last two international appearances and has a career tally of eight tries for Scotland – the joint-most of any player.
- Italy’s Brenden Santi has scored four tries in his last four games for the Azzurri; in fact, Italy have won all three games in that period when Santi has crossed for a try on the day.
The Rugby League World Cup promises to be the biggest, best and most inclusive event in the sport’s 127-year history with men’s, women’s and wheelchair teams competing in 61 games across 21 venues throughout England. Tickets are available via rlwc2021.com/tickets