Everything you need to know – Scotland v Italy.
Nathan Graham’s Scotland and Leo Epifania’s Italy go head-to-head in their opening World Cup fixture.
Both nations feature in Group B of this year’s tournament. Favourites Australia and Fiji are also in the group.
The Bravehearts confirmed their squad numbers earlier on Friday, with six Super League players involved. Australia-born Euan Aitken, who has made more than 150 appearances in the NRL, has been given the number 11 shirt. Dale Ferguson will captain the side and will wear shirt number 24.
NRL forward Nathan Brown has been included in Italy’s 24-man squad for the tournament. The likes of Anton Iaria, Ryan King and Richard Lepori have also been named.
- Scotland v Italy
- Date: Sunday 16th October
- Kick-off time: 2:30pm
- Venue: Kingston Park, Newcastle
- Group B
Scotland v Italy team news
Scotland 19-man squad: 2. Matty Russell, 3. Ben Hellewell, 4. Kieran Buchanan, 5. Lachlan Walmsley, 6. Bailey Hayward, 7. Ryan Brierley, 8. Logan Bayliss-Brow, 9. Liam Hood, 10. Sam Luckley, 11. Euan Aitken, 12. Kane Linnett, 13. James Bell, 14. Kyle Schneider, 15. Luke Bain, 18. Jack Teanby, 19. Calum Gaham, 20. Davey Dixon, 23. Bayley Lui, 24. Dale Ferguson.
Italy 19-man squad: 1. Luke Polselli, 2. Richard Lepori, 3. Daniel Atkinson, 4. Ethan Natoli, 5. Jake Maizen, 6. Jack Campagnolo, 7. Radean Robinson, 9. Dean Parata, 10. Anton Iaria, 11. Ryan King, 12. Brenden Santi, 13. Nathan Brown, 14. Joey Tramontana, 15. Luca Moretti, 16. Gioele Celerino, 17. Ronnie Palumbo, 18. Kyle Pickering, 19 Luke Hodge, 20. Jack Colovatti.
What the two camps are saying
Captain Ferguson said: “In the tournaments we’ve been classed as underdogs and we will be this time. We’ve pulled off quite a few shock results in the past so we’ll just take each game as it comes and we’ll just concentrate on ourselves.
“Just being part of the squad is a great experience but we’ve had major upsets in 2013 when we came away with a win against Tonga and pulling a draw against the Kiwis in the Four Nations. We went to Australia in 2017 with a young team but we came away with a draw against Samoa.”
Italy’s Nathan Brown said: “It’s an honour and privilege (to be here) and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to represent my family and heritage.
“Family is big in everyone’s life and it’s a big part of my life. The Italian heritage from my mum’s side really means a lot to me and to represent that in the World Cup, I can’t wait.”
How can I watch the game on TV?
Every game across the men’s, women’s and wheelchair World Cup tournaments is being broadcast by the BBC.
Scotland v Italy will be live on both BBC Two and BBC iPlayer on Sunday.
Odds and predictions
Scotland are 1/4 to win their opening World Cup fixture, while Italy are priced at 10/3 with Planet Sport Bet. Neither side are expected to win the tournament, with outright odds of 250/1 and 500/1 respectively.
I’d expect Scotland to claim the victory in Newcastle in an entertaining, close game.