Italian Rugby
Italy's Gower to miss World Cup
ESPNscrum Staff
June 29, 2011
Italy fly-half Craig Gower evades a tackle, Italy v Argentina, Verona, Italy, November 13, 2010
Gower evades a tackle against Argentina in November 2010 but has not played international rugby since © Getty Images

Italy's Australia born fly-half Craig Gower has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup after failing to recover from a knee injury sustained last November.

Gower, who has 14 caps for Italy, suffered the injury in November 2010 against Argentina, but his anterior cruciate ligament has failed to recover and he has ruled himself out of contention. Luciano Orquera and Kris Burton shared the fly-half spot during the Six Nations but only Orquera was named in the original World Cup 36-man training squad. Burton now comes into the mix in place of Gower.

Rugby League convert Gower, 33, admitted it was a very difficult decision to rule himself out of the World Cup but said he did not have full faith in his own fitness. "It was not an easy decision," said Gower. "To play in a World Cup, the highest level of rugby, is the goal of each player, but I am not able to express myself at 100% and I do not believe I will be able to in the next few months. My recovery has not gone as I expected, and I personally do not feel fully prepared to face a challenging tournament at the highest level without having full confidence in myself."

Italy coach Nick Mallett said he was upset with losing Gower but fully respects the fly-half's decision. "We respect Craig's choice," said Mallett. "But we cannot be happy. Craig is a great player and he has had a major impact on the team in the last two seasons. The FIR (Federazione Italiana Rugby) and the medical staff of the national team have done everything possible to put him in a position to recover, but we must accept his decision and wish him all the best. "

Italy will now meet on July 3 for their training camp and start their World Cup campaign against Australia on September 11 in Auckland.

Italy's Squad:

Forwards: Robert Julian Barbieri (Treviso), Mauro Bergamasco (Stade Francais), Valerio Bernabo (Treviso), Marco Bortolami (Aironi), Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester), Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing-Metro), Lorenzo Cittadini (Treviso), Tommaso D'Apice (Roma), Paul Derbyshire (Treviso), Alberto De Marchi (Aironi), Carlo Antonio Del Fava (Aironi), Joshua Furno (Aironi), Quintin Geldenhuys (Aironi), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais), Salvatore Perugini (Aironi), Leonardo Ghiraldini (Treviso), Fabio Ongaro (Aironi), Cornelius Van Zyl (Treviso), Manoa Vosawai (Treviso), Alessandro Zanni (Treviso)

Backs: Tommaso Benvenuti (Treviso), Mirco Bergamasco (Racing-Metro), Riccardo Bocchino (Aironi), Gonzalo Canale (Clermont), Pablo Canavosio (Aironi), Gonzalo Garcia (Treviso), Edoardo Gori (Treviso), Andrea Masi (Racing-Metro), Luke McLean (Treviso), Luciano Orquera (Brive), Andrea Pratichetti (Treviso), Matteo Pratichetti (Aironi), Alberto Sgarbi (Treviso), Fabio Semenzato (Treviso), Giulio Toniolatti (Aironi)

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