Italy: Paolo Garbisi set to miss the opening rounds of the Six Nations

A hammer blow for Italy ahead of the 2023 Six Nations as star flyhalf Paolo Garbisi is set to miss the opening three rounds. The 22-year-old flyhalf played all five of Italy's Six Nations matches in 2022 but featured just once during the Autumn Nations Series. Credit: Alamy
A hammer blow for Italy ahead of the 2023 Six Nations as star flyhalf Paolo Garbisi is set to miss the opening three rounds. The 22-year-old flyhalf played all five of Italy's Six Nations matches in 2022 but featured just once during the Autumn Nations Series. Credit: Alamy

Italy received a setback ahead of the 2023 Six Nations as it was announced that star fly-half Paolo Garbisi is set to miss the opening three rounds of the Championship.

The 22-year-old played all five of Italy’s Six Nations matches in 2022 but featured just once during the Autumn Nations Series.

Sidelined for Six Nations openers

Garbisi will miss at least the first three games of the Six Nations after he sprained an internal ligament in his right knee during Montpellier’s 40-10 defeat to Bordeaux in the Top 14.

Montpellier has since confirmed that he will be sidelined for six to eight weeks, ruling him out of their clash with Racing 92 this weekend and their Champions Cup ties with the Ospreys and London Irish.

He will also miss Italy‘s opening Six Nations match against the defending champions France on February 5 and their Round Two clash with England a week later at Twickenham. It is also unlikely that he will be available to face Ireland at the end of February.

A return against Wales, the team Italy defeated last year in the Six Nations, is likely for the playmaker if he can regain his fitness.

Tommy Allan to run Italy’s backline

Harlequins fly-half Tommy Allan deputised for Garbisi when he missed the Azzurri’s Tests against Australia and South Africa last November after sustaining a hip injury.

Allan also started the July internationals for Italy, featuring against Romania and Georgia. 

With Garbisi sidelined, Allan looks set to retain the role as he builds minutes in the Italian starting line-up in the build-up to the World Cup.

The 29-year-old has also been started at fly-half for Harlequins in their last seven matches with Marcus Smith sidelined and is two tries away from becoming Italy’s top try scorer in the Six Nations.

Sexton and Danty also injured

Elsewhere, Ireland are sweating on the fitness of Jonathan Sexton after he sustained a facial injury during Leinster’s win over Connacht. He is in doubt for the opening rounds of the Six Nations, although a timeline has not been disclosed.

France will be without La Rochelle centre Jonathan Danty, who sustained a ruptured posterior cruciate ligament injury, sidelining him for at least three months.

READ MORE: 14 all-time Six Nations individual records that could be broken or equalled this year

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