British & Irish Lions

France captain prepared for Storm Ciara ahead of Italy Test

Charles Ollivon (Getty Images)
Charles Ollivon (Getty Images)

Paris - France captain Charles Ollivon said on Saturday forecast hurricane-strength winds would have an impact on his side's tactics for this weekend's Six Nations match against Italy in Paris.

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Storm Ciara could bring gusts of more than 80 kilometres an hour on Sunday for both outfits' second match in this year's tournament.

Les Bleus opened their campaign with an impressive 24-17 win over England last Sunday at the Stade de France and the Azzurri were hammered 42-0 by Grand Slam champions Wales.

"There might be changes with the set-pieces and in open play but in all cases we'll see because last week they said there would be heavy rain for the whole match even it wasn't necessarily the case," 26-year-old Ollivon said.

"We have prepared for all the scenarios but remained focused, no matter the weather it's going to be difficult."

The French Rugby Federation and local government officials told AFP earlier in the day game would go ahead as planned.

Ollivon, who will lead his country for just the second time, said he was aware of his team's tag as favourites against the visitors, who are on a 23-match winless streak in the competition.

"The most important thing is to say we are certainly conscious about the fact that we are possibly more favourites than last week, it's even a certainty," he said.

"We have to be conscious of that.

"We have to know how to act in the right way to put in place the right tools for the match. We can't not talk about it," he added.

The travelling team's skipper Luca Bigi agreed that the weather would play a role in the fixture.

"We'll manage that. We have a plan to play with rain and wind, so we're prepared," Bigi said.

"We know that France like to play with the ball, with an unstructured game, that they are good on the counter-attack, so maybe if it's raining, the game will be static and it could be better for us."

Teams:

France

15 Anthony Bouthier; 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Arthur Vincent, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Damian Penaud; 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont; 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Francois Cros; 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Bernard Le Roux; 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille

Substitutes: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Jefferson Poirot, 18 Demba Bamba, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Boris Palu, 21 Cameron Woki, 22 Baptiste Serin, 23 Mathieu Jalibert 

Italy 

15 Jayden Hayward; 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Matteo Minozzi; 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Callum Braley; 8 Braam Steyn, 7 Sebastian Negri, 6 Jake Polledri; 5 Niccolo Cannone, 4 Alessandro Zanni; 3 Giosue Zilochhi, 2 Luca Bigi (captain), 1Andrea Lovotti

Substitutes: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Dean Budd, 20 Federico Ruzza, 21 Giovanni Licata, 22 Guglielmo Palazzani, 23 Giulio Bisegni

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