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Danilo Fischetti rewarded for London Irish form with World XV call-up ahead of Barbarians clash

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 3/30/2023 Nick Purewal
danilofischetti30032023a.jpg © Getty Images danilofischetti30032023a.jpg

London Irish's in-form Italy prop Danilo Fischetti has caught the eye of World Cup-winning coach Steve Hansen and is the latest star to be drafted into World XV contention.

Azzurri front-rower Fischetti has enjoyed a standout season with both Irish and Italy, and is now wanted by Hansen for his World XV squad to face the Barbarians at Twickenham on May 28.

The only barrier to the 25-year-old featuring for former New Zealand boss Hansen's side would be if Irish were to reach the Premiership final. The Exiles have pushed themselves right into contention for a top-four finish and a play-off campaign, especially after Saturday’s 37-22 win over Northampton.

The Premiership final will be held on May 27, the day before the World XV face the famed touring outfit in west London. Hansen is understood to have been impressed by Fischetti's string of powerful performances for both Irish and Italy, and has moved to secure the former Zebre prop’s services for the prestige fixture.

Hansen has also made moves to line up Fischetti's Azzurri pack colleagues Simone Ferrari and Lorenzo Cannone. Italy finished bottom of the Six Nations table and were left winless but Kiwi boss Kieran Crowley has overseen an impressive shift in the side's approach and impact.

Fischetti, Ferrari and Cannone have all been integral to that progress in the tight five, and their performances have not gone unnoticed. The World XV clash with the Barbarians will boast some of the game's brightest and most exciting stars, all bidding to light up Twickenham with open, attacking rugby.

"Traditionally you want a Barbarians game to be open and flowing, and a World XV game is the same," said Hansen.

"Whilst both sides will have a bit of fun during the week, come Saturday they'll have the freedom to express themselves and pour it out on the park."

Former England lock Joe Launchbury is ready in line to turn out for the World XV, with Bristol’s blockbuster back Semi Radradra also in the offing to appear.

All Blacks flier Ngani Laumape and Australia back Marika Koroibete will line up for Hansen's side too, in what already represents a mouthwatering backline of pace, guile and power.

Harlequins favourites Danny Care, Joe Marler and Andre Esterhuizen are in the mix to feature for the Barbarians, who will be coached by new Australia boss and former England chief Eddie Jones.

Jones has committed to the fixture despite recently returning for a second stint with the Wallabies.

General admission tickets for the blockbuster Barbarian F.C. vs World XV clash are on sale now from at the early-bird price of just £25* for Adults and £15* for Under-16s.

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