Milan: Italy coach Conor O’Shea has identified an upset win over South Africa as a possible path out of a tough Pool B at the Rugby World Cup after naming his squad for Japan.

The Italians have been drawn with world champions New Zealand, twice former champions the Springboks, Namibia and Canada for the opening stage of the September 20-November 2 tournament.

With only two teams making it out of each pool and into the quarter-finals, the Italians must defy the odds to reach the knockout stage for the first time in nine World Cups.

O’Shea, though, said “We now definitely have a better team, with more internal competition and much improved performances. Recently, we have shown that we can play against the top teams when we play our best game. I believe that against South Africa, with this team, we can create an opportunity on our day.”

Squad

Forwards: Simone Ferrari, Andrea Lovotti, Tiziano Pasquali, Nicola Quaglio, Marco Riccioni, Federico Zani, Luca Bigi, Oliviero Fabiani, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Dean Budd, Federico Ruzza, David Sisi, Alessandro Zanni, Maxime Mbanda, Sebastian Negri, Sergio Parisse, Jake Polledri, Abraham Steyn

Backs: Callum Braley, Guglielmo Palazzani, Tito Tebaldi, Tommaso Allan, Carlo Canna, Tommaso Benvenuti, Michele Campagnaro, Luca Morisi, Mattia Bellini, Giulio Bisegni, Jayden Hayward, Matteo Minozzi, Edoardo Padovani.