Six Nations

New-look Italy for France clash

Sergio Parisse (Getty Images)
Sergio Parisse (Getty Images)

Milan - Italy will debut four players at fullback, the frontrow and on the wing for their Six Nations opening clash away to France in Paris this weekend as the Azzurri named their starting XV on Thursday.

David Odiete comes in at fullback to make his full Italy debut and will be joined on the left wing by Mattia Bellini.

In an apparent changing of the guard, experienced prop Martin Castrogiovanni was left on the bench as Benetton Treviso hooker Ornel Gega joined fellow debutant and loosehead prop Andrea Lovotti in the front row.

Elsewhere, New Zealand-born flyhalf Kelly Haimona remains on the bench after his recent recovery from injury, with the number 10 shirt going to Zebre's Carlo Canna who is set to make his eighth Italy appearance alongside 47-time capped Edoardo Gori, at scrum half.

Italy captain Sergio Parisse, meanwhile, will earn his 115th cap at No 8 to pull level with Castrogiovanni, who is Italy's most-capped player.

Italy have played France a total of 37 times, winning only three times against Les Bleus.

Teams:

France: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Hugo Bonneval, 13 Gaël Fickou, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Virimi Vakatawa, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Sébastien Bezy, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Damien Chouly, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Paul Jedrasiak, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Eddy Ben Arous

Substitutes: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Uini Atonio, 18 Jefferson Poirot, 19 Alexandre Flanquart, 20 Yacouba Camara, 21 Maxime Machenaud, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Maxime Mermoz

Italy: 15 David Odiete, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Mattia Bellini, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Alessandro Zanni, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Marco Fuser, 4 George Fabio Biagi, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Ornel Gega, 1 Andrea Lovotti

Substitutes: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Matteo Zanusso, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Valerio Bernabo, 20 Andries van Schalkwyk, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Kelly Haimona, 23 Luke McLean


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