Gert Peens will become the latest southern hemisphere-born player to play in the Lloyds TSB Six Nations Championship when he makes his Italian debut against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, 2 March (kick-off 2.00pm).
The South African-born Peens is promoted to the Azzurri's national team after two outings with the A side this season. Based in Piacenza, Peens follows Kiwi-born Matt Phillips into the Italian side after qualifying on the 36 months residency rule.
Peens is one of three changes behind the scrum from the side beaten in Rome by Scotland two weeks ago. He takes over from the injured Paulo Vaccari at full back, while Rotherham's Ramiro Pez deputises for the injured Diego Dominguez at outside half.
The other change is on the wing where Nicola Mazzucato comes in for Dennis Dallan, who dropped out with injury this week.
But under fire coach Brad Johnstone has conducted major surgery on his pack, making changes in every row.
OUT go Federico Pucciarello from the front row, Stephane Dellape from the second row and Matt Phillips from the back row.
IN come Salvatore Perugini at tight head prop, Mark Giacheri at lock and Aaron Persico at blindside flanker.
And Johnstone has also switched his most expereinced forward, Carlo Checchinato, from the second row to No 8 to replace Phillips and moved back row man Marco Bortolami from the back row to lock to allow New Zealand-born Aaron Persico to come into the side on the blindside.
Italy have not won a Lloyds TSB Six Nations match since their opening day victory over the then defending Five Nations Champions Scotland two years ago.
They have met Wales eight times before and are still awaiting their first win. And after 11 successive championship defeats, Johnstone will be hoping his side can improve on their performances to date in which they lost 33-12 to France and 29-12 to Scotland.
ITALY (v Wales)
Gert Peens (Piacenza); Roberto Pedrazzi (Viadana), Mirco Bergamasco (Padova), Cristian Stoica (Castres), Nicola Mazzucato (Benetton Treviso); Ramiro Pez (Rotherham), Alessandro Troncon (Monteferrand); Giampiero De Carli (Calvisano), Alessandro Moscardi (Benetton Treviso, captain), Salvatore Perugini (L'Aquila), Mark Giacheri (Sale Sharks), Marco Bortolami (Padova), Aaron Persico (Viadana), Mauro Bergamasco (Benetton Treviso), Carlo Checchinato (Benetton Treviso).
Replacements: Federico Pucciarello (Gloucester), Andrea Lo Cicero (Toulouse), Andrea Benatti (Viadana), Matthew Phillips (Viadana), Matteo Mazzantini (Benetton Treviso), Francesco Mazzariol (Benetton Treviso), Giovanni Raineri (Roma)
Wales Head Coach Rob Howley talks to WRU TV's Sebastian Barrett about the 36-man squad he has just named for the forthcoming Under Armour series, which includes two uncapped players, Ospreys duo Sam Davies and Rory Thornton.
Head coach Rowland Phillips is deligthed he can now call BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park home for his Wales Women's side, who launch their international season next month with games against Scotland and UK Armed Forces in the heart of the capital city.
Wales Sevens star Sam Cross has put his home town club of Brynmawr on the map after winning a silver medal at the Rio Olympics with Team GB. His club have now honoured him by naming their players bar after him, as WRU TV discovered at the official launch, recently.
One of the newest members of the Principality Premiership, Bargoed admit it's proving to be a steep learning curve at the highest level, but are determined to become a force to be reckoned with. WRU TV visited the club last weekend when they took on Llanelli.
Table-topping Aberavon travel to north Wales to tackle RGC 1404 as both teams defend unbeaten starts to the season in the Principality Premiership. WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie visited the Wizards to see how their preparations were going for the game of the weekend.
The Half a Game initiative is currently sweeping across Wales and proving a major success. The scheme aims to give every young player at least half a game every weekend. WRU TV recently visited a festival in Narberth where clubs have fully embraced the initiative.
Both Bargoed and Swansea were seeking their first win of the Principality Premiership season this afternoon. It proved a fruitful day for the hosts - not only did they win, but Bargoed claimed a try bonus point.
Cardiff managed to keep their unbeaten record at home intact, but only just as Bridgend made them work extremely hard before the Blue and Blacks secured a hard fought Principality Premiership win at the BT Sport Arms Park last night.
Former Wales back row Andy Powell gives a guided tour of The Wern, home of Merthyr RFC, who are determined to prove a lot of people wrong and make their mark in their first season in the Principality Premiership.