Italy and Russia ready to face off at Leigh

Italy and Russia will play off for the final place at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup tonight at Leigh Sports Village.

Italy, the favourites, have made two changes to their squad, bringing in Ryan Tramonte and Joseph Tramontana, after the defeat to Wales in Monza last week.

Italy head coach Cameron Ciraldo insists that spirit in his squad is high, despite the close nature of that defeat.

“The boys have trained very well since a disappointing loss to Wales last week,” he said.

“The new players in the squad are in for tactical reasons and deserve their chance, they have forced their way into the squad through the way they have trained.”

Russia, meanwhile, have named an unchanged squad, though there are fitness doubts over CSKA centre Kiril Kosharin and utilty player Petr Botnarash.

Head coach Denis Korolev is exepcting a tough test, but insists that his players will give everything to claim a spot at the World Cup.

“We are really glad that we have earned a chance to fight for the last berth at the 2017 World Cup,” he said.

“The Italian team boasts a very good selection of players so we know this is not going to be an easy match for us.

“We’re struggling with some injuries to key players and even though we’re not hopeful of getting them on the pitch, our aim is still victory and we’ll do our best to achieve it.”

The match will be livestreamed (kick off 8pm) at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/rQeYYztLYZq

ITALY 19-MAN SQUAD

Dean Parata (Blacktown), Patrik Ziliotti (Brianza Tigers), Joel Reithmuller (Cairns Brothers), Joe Tramontana (Canterbury Bulldogs), Jayden Walker (Cronulla Sharks), Terry Campese, (Hull KR), Giuseppe Pagani (Lions Brescia), Gavin Hiscox (Mackay Cutters), Gioele Celerino (Newcastle Thunder), Ryan Ghietti, Col Wilkie, Justin Castellaro (Northern Pride), Richard Lepori (Oldham Roughyeds), Mason Cerruto (Parramatta Eels), Shannon Wakeman (St George-Illawarra),  Brenden Santi (Townsville Blackhawks), Ryan Tramonte (Windsor Wolves), Chris Centrone (Wyong Roos), Mirco Bergamasco (unattached)

RUSSIA 19-MAN SQUAD

Viacheslav Eremin, Andrey Kuznetsov, (Dynamo), Kirill Kosharin (CSKA Moscow), Ivan Troitskii (Ivanovo White Sharks), Vadim Buryak, Leonid Kalinin, Maxim Tsinkovich (Lokomotiv Moscow), Petr Botnarash, Mikhail Burlutskii, Sergey Gaponov, Sergei Konstantinov, Aleksandr Lysokon, Maksim Suchkov, Denis Tiulenev, Vladimir Vlasyuk, Nikolai Zagoskin (Nara), Dmitry Bratko, Igor Chuprin, Vadim Fedchuk (Moscow Storm)

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