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Rugby World Cup Italy will cope with Kelly Haimona loss: Luke McLean

Italy utility Luke McLean backed his team-mates to cope with the absence of injured fly-half Kelly Haimona at the Rugby World Cup.

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Italy utility Luke McLean backed his team-mates to cope with the absence of injured fly-half Kelly Haimona at the Rugby World Cup.

Haimona was left out of Jacques Brunel's 34-man squad for the showpiece tournament in England after he failed to recover from a broken arm in time - having sustained the injury in Italy's Six Nations loss to Wales in March.

The blow was cruel as it was untimely for both Italy and the 29-year-old Haimona, as it ended the New Zealand-born man's World Cup dream - and gave Brunel fewer chances to form a back-up plan.

Perpignan's Tommaso Allan (14 caps) and the uncapped Carlo Canna are Brunel's two specialist fly-halves remaining at his disposal - but McLean, a veteran of 68 caps, had confidence in the pair to step up.

"That's going to be a big loss for us," McLean told Omnisport.

"I think he's played three November Tests and all five Six Nations games, and started more or less until he got injured, obviously that's a big loss for us.

"The two guys that are here, Tommy [Allan] especially has been training really, really well.

"Those boys are looking forward to coming out and putting their best foot forward.

"It won't be easy at the start, but I'm sure the boys will step up and they'll be ready for that.

"It's not like it's happened the week before the World Cup, they've had a fair bit of time knowing there's a chance he's not going to make it."

McLean is one of 23 players in Italy's squad of 34 - still to be cut by another three players - that hail from Italy's two Top 12 clubs Zebre (13) and Benetton Treviso (10).

Michele Campagnaro and Luca Morisi combine at Treviso alongside McLean.

"Yeah I guess it probably makes it a little bit easier especially in certain positions, the two centres that play week in, week out at club rugby, it probably makes it a little bit easier to understand each other, work off each other, makes it a lot easier," McLean said of Campagnaro and Morisi.

"That's one of the positives of having only two clubs in the Pro 12."

Italy begin their warm-up matches for the showpiece event with the first of two Tests against Scotland in Turin on Saturday.

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