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Italy name team to face France

By Online Editors
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Franco Smith has made just one change to his Italian starting side to face France away on Sunday. 


The new Azzurri boss opted not to make wholesale changes following last weekend 42-0 beating at Wales. 

His only switch comes at full-back where Jayden Hayward has been promoted from the bench, an inclusion that has resulted in a back three rejig.

Matteo Minozzi, last weekend’s starting full-back, switches to the left wing where the No11 versus Wales, Mattia Bellini, now switches across to No14 with Leonardo Sarto losing his spot and dropping out of the matchday 23. 

Giulio Bisegni takes Hayward’s place on the bench while Federico Ruzza steps in for Marco Lazzaroni.

(Continue reading below…)

Freddie Burns discusses the selection issues that England have faced this week

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Alessandro Zanni’s selection in the second row will be his 119th Test level appearance, drawing him level with Italy’s second most capped player, Martin Castrogiovanni, in the all-time Italian classification.

“The debut against Wales served as a lesson,” said Smith after unveiling his XV following a full week’s preparation in Paris. 


“Let’s look forward now to the work done this week. We are trying to improve our mechanisms and trying to show the best version of ourselves. It will be a tough game on Sunday that we will play with greater awareness.”

ITALY (vs France, Sunday)

15. Jayden HAYWARD (Benetton Rugby, 24 caps)

14. Mattia BELLINI (Zebre Rugby Club, 23 caps)

13. Luca MORISI (Benetton Rugby, 30 caps)*

12. Carlo CANNA (Zebre Rugby Club, 40 caps)

11. Matteo MINOZZI (Wasps Rugby, 17 caps)*

10. Tommaso ALLAN (Benetton Rugby, 55 caps)

9. Callum BRALEY (Gloucester Rugby, 6 caps)

8. Abraham STEYN (Benetton Rugby, 37 caps)

7. Sebastian NEGRI (Benetton Rugby, 23 caps)

6. Jake POLLEDRI (Gloucester Rugby, 14 caps)

5. Niccolò CANNONE (Argos Petrarca Rugby/Benetton Rugby,1 cap)*

4. Alessandro ZANNI (Benetton Rugby, 118 caps)

3. Giosuè ZILOCCHI (Zebre Rugby Club, 3 caps)*

2. Luca BIGI (Zebre Rugby Club, 25 caps) – captain

1. Andrea LOVOTTI (Zebre Rugby Club, 41 caps)*


16. Federico ZANI (Benetton Rugby 14 caps)

17. Danilo FISCHETTI (Zebre Rugby Club, 1 cap)*

18. Marco RICCIONI (Benetton Rugby, 8 caps)*

19. Dean BUDD (Benetton Rugby, 27 caps)

20. Federico RUZZA (Benetton Rugby, 18 caps)*

21. Giovanni LICATA (Zebre Rugby Club, 9 caps)*

22. Guglielmo PALAZZANI (Zebre Rugby Club, 37 caps)

23. Giulio BISEGNI (Zebre Rugby Club, 14 caps)

WATCH: The Rugby Pod previews the weekend’s round two Guinness Six Nations matches  

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FEATURE Dan Biggar prepares to relinquish Welsh jersey on a high Dan Biggar prepares to relinquish Welsh jersey on a high