Italy ring changes for Six Nations

Italy coach Jacques Brunel has made nine changes to the team that last played at the World Cup for their match against France in Paris on Saturday.

There are six uncapped players in the match 23, with David Odiete, Mattia Bellini, Andrea Lovotta and Ornel Gega in the starting lineup, and Matteo Zanusso and Dries van Schalkwyk on the bench. 

The wealth of experience in the loose trio will provide support for the rookies in the front row, with captain Sergio Parisse alone boasting over 100 caps for the national side. Castrogiovanni will provide good front-row cover off the bench.

The very young backline boasts impressive experience, while bencher Luke McLean will also provide a set of experienced fresh legs in the fullback position, should he come on. 

Carlo Canna is the 17th flyhalf to start for Italy since the retirement of Diego Dominguez in 2003. The lack of consistency in the pivot position could negatively affect the team going into the new season. 

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. Subs: 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. 

Photo: AFP

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Mariette Adams