Super League stars Oliver Gildart and Mark Minichiello are among the big names included in Italy’s train-on squad for the 2017 World Cup.
The squad, which will be reduced to 24 players before 13 October, is drawn from players in Australia, England and France, as well as the domestic Italian competition.
And Gildart – who had hinted he would play for Italy if no England call-up was forthcoming – is included. Fellow Super League players Minichiello and Huddersfield forward Shannon Wakeman are also called up.
The big names from the NRL include Wests’ James Tedesco, while Aiden Guerra is also included. They will pledge their allegiance to Italy if they are not chosen by hosts Australia.
Former Hull KR players Terry Campese and Josh Mantellato are also included – while Matthew Johns’ son, Jack, is another call-up.
Of the 19 Italy-based players, the one most likely to be in the final squad for the World Cup is dual code international Mirco Bergamasco, who played 89 rugby union Tests, including three Rugby World Cups. Bergamasco, who has represented the Azzurri in four league Tests, has also played rugby union in France for Stade Français and Racing Métro.
Italy Train-on Squad for 2017 World Cup
Aidan Guerra (Sydney Roosters); Alberto Mariani (Brianza Tigers), Alec Susino (Mounties), Alex Mammone (Halifax), Alvise Rigo (Leoni Venetians), Brenden Santi (Sydney Roosters/Wyong Roos), Chris Centrone (Wyong Roos), Colin Wilkie (Northern Pride), Christophe Calegari (Palau XIII Broncos), Daniel Alvaro (Parramatta Eels), Fabio Borina (Spartans Catania), Dean Parata (Blacktown Workers), Edoardo Pezzano (Spartans Catania/Tully Tigers), Emanuele Passera (XIII of the Ducato), Fabrizio Ciaurro (XIII of the Ducato), Gavin Hiscox (Central Queensland Capras), Gioele Celerino (Saluzzo NWR/Tully Tigers), Giorgio Draghi (Brianza Tigers), Giuseppe Pagani (Lions Brescia), Ismail Byaoui (Lions Brescia), Jack Campagnolo (Northern Pride), Jack Johns (Newcastle Knights), James Tedesco (Wests Tigers), JaydenWalker (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Jaume Giorgis (Saluzzo NWR), Joe Tramontana (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Joel Riethmuller (Northern Pride), Josh Aloiai (Wests Tigers), Josh Mantellato (Wyong Roos), Justin Castellaro (Northern Pride), Kieran Quabba (Townsville Districts Blackhawks), Lorenzo Leandro (Lions Brescia), Lucas Bruzzone (Saluzzo NWR), Luis Lollo (Brianza Tigers), Luke Polselli (Manly Sea Eagles), Mark Minichiello (Hull FC), Mason Cerruto (Penrith Panthers/St Marys), Matt Parata (Souths Logan Magpies), Mirco Bergamasco (Leoni Veneti), Nathan Brown (Parramatta Eels), Nathan Milone (Wests Tigers), Oliver Gildart (Wigan Warriors), Davide Spinnato (XIII Lovers Palermo), Patrick Ziliotti (Brianza Tigers), Richard Lepori (Oldham Roughyeds), Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra Dragons), Ryan Ghietti (Northern Pride), Ryan King (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Ryan Tramonte (Windsor Wolves), Igor Gianmario (Spartans Catania), Shannon Wakeman (Huddersfield Giants), Simone Boscolo (Leoni Veneto/Tully Tigers), Terry Campese (Queanbeyan Blues), Tommaso Nicoli (Leoni Venetians).