26 May 2023

Italy host Serbia in a men’s Test match at the Pasian Di Prato stadium, near to the city of Udine, tomorrow (Saturday, kick off 3pm local time). It will mark the Azzurri’s first match on home soil since November 2019, when they defeated Spain. 

The following weekend, on Saturday 3 June, it will be the turn of the respective women’s sides at the same venue and time, who last met in June 2019 when Italy were the victors 26-0. 

 Salvatore Pezzano, head coach of Italy RL, said: “We are starting on a new path with Italy. We are well aware that we are facing a team accustomed to international Test matches, but we want to start off on the right foot. We have selected players who have been participating in the Italian championship since November with the addition of the captain and most experienced player Gioele Celerino who plays in France, plus the three called up to the World Cup, Ippolito Occhialini, Giordano Arena and Alex Rojatto. 

“This international will, first of all, serve to verify the growth of a new generation of rugby league players who are being trained through the commitment and work of our federation, which will see athletes from southern, central and northern Italy representing.”

Serbia arrive having won well in Greece, 40-6, a fortnight ago, head coach Darren Fisher noting: “We have had a good week together and fixed a few things up from the Greece game as we prepare now for a tough test against Italy. I have never had an easy game there and the Italian flair is something we need to rise to in terms of our enthusiasm and desire. We have another debutant, and I have also given some of the U19s another go at this level after their efforts in Athens that I was proud of. It is vital for our domestic development.”

Alessandro Corte, Fabio Galletto (Leoni Veneti), Alex Rojatto,Giona Toffoletti, Giordano Arena, Ippolito Occhialini (Lignano Sharks), Davide Colla (Parma Cowboys), Francesco Vallone (Parma Cowboys), Emiliano Buraschi (Milano Mustangs), Gioele Celerino (St Gaudens XIII), Giovanni Rizzo, Leonardo Artale, Riccardo Crocella' (Catania Bulls), Kevin Fadini, Mishel Shmai (Pasian di Prato Wildcats), Lorenzo Sosta, Mauro Quarino (Delinquenti del League)

Aleksandar Pavlovic, Dragan Jankovic, Dzavid Jasari, Enis Bibic, Strahinja Stojiljkovic (Partisan Belgrade), Aleksandar Markovic, Marko Jakovljevic, Stefan Novakovic (Radnicki Belgrade), Mihajlo Jovic, Stefan Arsic (Radnicki Nis), Denis Cengaj, Dragan Kokanovic, Marko Jankovic, Milos Calic, Miodrag Tomic, Nikola Djuric, Rajko Trifunovic, Vladislav Dedic, Vojislav Dedic (Red Star Belgrade)