British & Irish Lions

Youngster Vincent in for Vakatawa in lone France change for Italy

Fabien Galthie (Getty Images)
Fabien Galthie (Getty Images)

Paris - Inexperienced Montpellier centre Arthur Vincent replaces injured Virimi Vakatawa in the only change to France's starting line-up to face Italy in the Six Nations this weekend from the opening victory over England.

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Vakatawa, 27, who has scored seven tries for Racing 92 this season, was ruled out earlier in the day with a triceps problem suffered in the thrilling 24-17 win over the Rugby World Cup runners-up last Sunday.

Double world under-20 champion Vincent is set to make his first Test start this Sunday after coming off the bench for the final 30 seconds against England.

"He is a player who has the perfect career path. French youth teams, most notably a part of the world champion generations and captain last year," Galthie said.

"He's trained really well with us. To put it simply we expect him to be himself, to bring the strong aspects to his play. His maturity and his youth too," he added.

After Vincent's promotion Toulon lock Romain Taofifenua comes onto the bench for an unusual 6-2 split between forwards and backs.

"The option had been studied before playing England. We decided in the week to move to 6-2, to bring Romain in to have two second-rows with more hybrid profiles along with Boris Palu who covers 4,5,6 and 7," Galthie said.

"Romain for three weeks has shown a big investment and big presence in training. He deserves his place in the team lineup," he added.

Hayward in for Italy 

Galthie's Azzurri counterpart in South African Franco Smith also made just one change to his starting lineup after last weekend's 42-0 loss at Wales.

Experienced 32-year-old Jayden Hayward comes in at full-back as Matteo Minozzi moves to the wing and Leonardo Sarto drops out of the squad entirely.

Among the visitors' substitutes 18-time international lock Federico Ruzza replaces 22-year-old Giovanni Licata and winger Giulio Bisegni takes Hayward's spot with the substitutes.

Italy turn up at the Stade de France having lost each of their last 23 Six Nations matches.



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 


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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