2019 World Cup: Italy v
Venue: Level5 Stadium Date: Thursday, 26 September Kick-off: 08:45 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live sports extra and online, live text commentary on BBC Sport website and app and live on ITV 4.

In a group with former champions New Zealand and South Africa, may not go far at the World Cup – but they have already made tournament history.

The side’s team manager, Alana Gattinger, is the first woman to take up the role at a men’s World Cup.

She handles all player and staff logistics and liaises between the team, tournament officials and World .

“It’s a testament to our union and our country,” said Gattinger before face Italy on Thursday (08:45 BST).

Gattinger has been part of the set-up since 2017, with head coach Kingsley Jones leading the team to World Cup qualification.

She added: “I’m lucky that I work in and live in a country where opportunities like this exist for women in sport.

“I am not treated any differently, and that’s exactly what I want. I hope this serves as an inspiration to young girls that anything is possible.”

Italy may have beaten Namibia 47-22 in their opening game, but they are also unlikely to make it out of Pool B.

Conor O’Shea’s side will make history too as lock David Sisi becomes the first German-born player to feature in a World Cup match.

The Azzurri have beaten tier two side in their past six encounters – and Jones’ team, who have won just one match in their past three World Cup campaigns, begin the tournament on a five-game losing steak in Test .

But Gattinger insists her first World Cup game as team manager will be special.

“I think it will be pretty emotional,” she told Sportshour.

“Our group is like a family. I’ve been working with some of these guys since the first day I started with [in 2013].

“They’re like my brothers and that moment will be so special for them. I’m sure I’ll feel their emotion and my own as well for being in the role and lucky enough to represent the country.

“I think the anthem will be full of emotion for everyone.”


Italy: Minozzi, Benvenuti, Campagnaro, Hayward, Bisegni; Allan, Braley; Lovotti, Bigi, , Sisi, Budd (c), Negri, Polledri, Steyn.

Replacements: Zani, Quaglio, Riccioni, Ruzza, Mbanda, Palazzani, Canna, Bellini.

: Parfrey, Hassler, Lesage, Blevins, Van Der Merwe; Nelson, McRorie; Buydens, Howard, Tierney, Keys, Larsen, Sheppard, Rumball, Ardron (c).

Replacements: Piffero, Duru-Sears, Ilnicki, Campbell. Heaton. Mackenzie, Hearn, Coe.


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