LONDON, 5 Oct – The injuries that have dogged Italy’s Rugby World Cup campaign have hit them once again, and three of their most experienced players were forced to leave camp on Monday. 

Props Martin Castrogiovanni and Michele Rizzo and centre Gonzalo Garcia have had to return to their clubs after being ruled out of Italy’s final World Cup match against Romania in Exeter on Sunday. 

Castrogiovanni (pictured) is likely to require surgery on a tumour that is putting pressure on his sciatic nerve, while Rizzo and Garcia have both suffered knee injuries. Alberto de Marchi and Andrea Lovotti have been called up as replacements for the two props but no replacement will be made for Garcia.

"Martin has pain on a sciatic nerve and after a check doctors found a tumour pressing on his fifth vertebra that is causing inflammation and pain,” team manager Luigi Troiani said. 

'Sure it's benign'

“We are sure it is benign and tomorrow he will fly to Milan to see a specialist. The likelihood is he will require surgery.”

Earlier in the tournament centre Andrea Masi tore his Achilles tendon, while centre Luca Morisi and wing Angelo Esposito were ruled out before Jacques Brunel’s squad had left for England. The team also had to do without captain and talisman Sergio Parisse for their first two matches as he was recovering from surgery to reduce a haematoma on his left calf. 

There was better news for vice-captain Leonardo Ghiraldini, who missed the 16-9 defeat by Ireland at The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium on Sunday with a thigh injury. 

He has continued his work with the squad’s medical staff and the hope is he will be back for the Romania match, which Italy must win to secure third place and a spot at Rugby World Cup 2019.

“Leo is better and confident he can play on Sunday,” Troiani said. “He will have some checks over the next couple of days to make sure.”

RNS ji/bo