Former England U20 captain Braley to train with Italy

By Sports Desk February 12, 2019

Former England Under-20 captain Callum Braley has been invited to train with Italy ahead of their Six Nations meeting with Ireland next weekend.

Gloucester scrum-half Braley, who qualifies for Italy through his grandfather, skippered England during the defence of the World Rugby U20 Championship title in 2014 but has yet to make a senior international appearance.

The 24-year-old was included in a 33-man group named by Conor O'Shea ahead of Ireland's visit to Rome on February 24.

"I'm absolutely thrilled. It's a massive opportunity for myself to improve and gain some valuable experiences," said Braley.

"I think everyone knows what a competition the Six Nations is, but I think Italy have shown some real promise. It's a good opportunity to get over there and just get among international rugby or just train among that environment.

"One of the things Conor made pretty clear when we first spoke was that it's not a decision to necessarily go over there to play at this moment, but more an opportunity to train and see what the set-ups all about."

Benetton Treviso scrum-half Tito Tebaldi returns after sustaining an injury in the warm-up ahead of Italy's opening match against Scotland, while centre Giulio Bisegni is also available after recovering from a calf injury sustained in November.

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    Bancroft, captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner were subsequently banned by Cricket Australia (CA), as the cricketing fraternity expressed its severe condemnation of such a blatant act of cheating. 

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    March 24: Bancroft and Smith face the media after the day's play, admitting - along with the "leadership group" - their plot to manipulate the ball, although they claim the foreign object was tape. Bancroft confirms he has been charged by the International Cricket Council (ICC) while Smith insists he will not resign as skipper.

    March 25: Amid rising condemnation, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is scathing in his assessment of the issue, saying the plan to cheat "beggars belief". CA promises to investigate.

    March 25: Shortly before the start of day four, it is confirmed Smith and Warner will relinquish their leadership roles for the remainder of the Test, with Tim Paine taking over as captain.

    March 25: The ICC announces that Smith has been suspended for the fourth Test, although Bancroft is free to play. Australia collapse from 57-0 to 107 all out to lose by 322 runs in Cape Town.

    March 27: Smith, Bancroft and Warner are all sent home from the tour. CA decrees they were the only individuals who knew of the plan. Matt Renshaw, Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell are called up.

    March 28: CA hands Smith and Warner one-year bans from international and domestic cricket. Bancroft is suspended for nine months, while Warner will not be considered for any leadership roles in future. James Sutherland, CEO of CA, reiterates that head coach Darren Lehmann knew nothing of the plan. It is confirmed Bancroft used sandpaper and not tape on the ball.

    March 29: An 'absolutely devastated' Smith breaks down in tears when addressing the media upon his return to Sydney. Bancroft also faces reporters and expresses remorse for his part in the fiasco.

    March 29: Lehmann confirms he will resign from his post after the fourth Test. Sutherland insists he will not follow suit. Somerset cancel plans for Bancroft to join as the county's overseas player for 2018.

    March 31: Speaking to the media at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Warner takes full responsibility for his actions while adding he has a "tiny ray of hope" that he will play for Australia again.

    April 6: CA launches a review into "cultural, organisational and governance issues", employing an independent, player-driven panel to advise on future steps.

    April 11: As expected, Smith, Warner and Bancroft are absent from CA's contract list for 2018-19.

    May 2: Former opening batsman Justin Langer is appointed as Lehmann's successor as head coach.

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    June 13: During the first ODI between the sides at The Oval, England fans mock Australia's plight, distributing sandpaper marked with "4" and "6" to celebrate boundaries.

    October 29: CA slammed as "arrogant" and "controlling" in the results of the body's independent review. 

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    December 30: Bancroft returns from his ban and scores two for Perth Scorchers in a Big Bash League defeat to Hobart Hurricanes.

    March 8, 2019: Although set to be eligible for the final two matches of the ODI series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates following the expiry of their bans, Smith and Warner are not included in the Australia squad.

    March 21: Durham announce Bancroft as their new captain for the County Championship and One-Day Cup ahead of the start of the English domestic season.

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