Rugby

Dubliner Set To Win First Italy Cap Six Years After Forced Retirement

Dubliner Set To Win First Italy Cap Six Years After Forced Retirement

Ian McKinley has been named in Italy's matchday 23 for their opening game of the November internationals against Fiji this weekend.

The Dubliner was forced to retire six years ago, aged just 21, after sustaining an injury which left him blind in one eye. He suffered the injury in January 2010 while playing for UCD in an AIL game against Lansdowne.

He would return to rugby three years later - wearing special goggles - to play for Zebre. He has since moved to Treviso and qualified to play for Italy under the three-year residency rule.

McKinley told ESPN last week that Italian rugby has given him back his professional career.

Italy has given me a new lease of life. It has given me my professional career back. They were the first nation to sign up for the goggles. I can only ever be grateful because they have given me so much.

It would be amazing to be part of a World Cup because that would be a full 10-years circle on being with the Irish U20s at the World Cup, but again it is such a long way away and this experience has taught me not to think too far ahead.

He also added that he is particularly happy that it is not a sympathy pick from Italy head coach Conor O'Shea.

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"I think people are progressively getting away from that image of Ian as the guy with the goggles. Now it is just Ian McKinley. That has been a big challenge for me but I think people are starting to say that which is good."

Italy starting XV to play Fiji

15-Jayden Hayward
14-Leonardo Sarto
13-Tommaso Boni
12-Tomasso Castello
11-Mattia Bellini
10-Carlo Canna
9-Marcello Violi
8-Sergio Parisse (captain)
7-Abraham Steyn
6-Francesco Minto
5-Dean Budd
4-Marco Fuser
3-Simone Ferrari
2-Luca Bigi
1-Andrea Lovotti

Replacements:

16-Leonardo Ghiraldini
17-Federico Zani
18-Dario Chistolini
19-Marco Lazzaroni
20-Giovanni Licara
21-Edoardo Gori
22-Ian McKinley
23-Matteo Minozzi.

See Also: 2 New Caps In 23 As Ireland Team To Face South Africa Is Named

PJ Browne
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