Saturday, February 4, 2012

6 NATIONS TEST RUGBY: Italians Travel to Paris

04.02.2012
Italy v France in Paris (6 Nations)

Venue: Stade de France

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Preview
In June last year Italy exposed all the weaknesses and faults in the Lievremont-lead French side. The win was the highlight to date for Italy at the international test rugby level, whilst for France they reached an all-time low.

Just five months later the same French side came within a whisker of causing the major upset of all World Cup rugby history, pushing the All Blacks to within a point. A great high for French rugby.

So that about sums up French test rugby. Hot one minute cold the next. There is a favourite saying among commentators. ‘Which French side will turn up today?

The French go into this match as firm favourites. They have stuck with very much the side that came oh-so-close in the World Cup final in Auckland.

Italy has changed its backline considerably from that which played in the Rugby World Cup. The forward pack is much the same

Italy has never won in Paris against France. In fact before 2000 they rarely played in France, been given France ‘B matches in provincial areas.

New cap for France, African Malian heritage, Wesley Fofana.
Malzieu last played for France v Argentina, June 2010, Belgian born Vincent Debaty v Romania 2006.

New caps for Italy Giovanbattista Venditti.

I’d expect France to win comfortably.

Last Five Encounters
12.03.2011 Italy 22-21 in Rome (6 Nations)
14.03.2010 France 46-20 in Paris (6 Nations)
21.03.2009 France 50-8 in Rome (6 Nations)
09.03.2008 France 25-13 in Paris (6 Nations)
03.02.2007 France 39-3 in Rome (6 Nations)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-France 4th, Italy 12th
Europe Table-France 1st, Italy 6th

IRB Ranking Points
France 84.70, Italy 73.99

Prediction: France by 27 points

Teams

FRANCE

5[1]

15   Maxime Medard Toulouse
14   Vincent Clerc Toulouse
13   Aurelien Rougerie Clermont Auvergne
12   Wesley Fofana Clermont Auvergne
11   Julien Malzieu Clermont Auvergne
10   Fran├žois Trinh-Duc Montpellier
9   Dimitri Yachvili Biarritz
8   Louis Picamoles Toulouse
7   Julien Bonnaire Clermont Auvergne
6   Thierry Dusautoir (Capt.) Toulouse
5   Lionel Nallet Racing Metro
4   Pascal Pape Stade Francais
3   Nicolas Mas Perpignan
2   William Servat Toulouse
1   Vincent Debaty Clermont Auvergne
       
16   Dimitri Szarzewski Stade Francais
17   Jean-Baptiste Poux Toulouse
18   Yoann Maestri Toulouse
19   Imanol Harinordoquy Biarritz
20   Morgan Parra Clermont Auvergne
21   Lionel Beauxis Toulouse
22   Maxime Mermoz Perpignan
       
    COACH: P. Saint-Andre

ITALY

6[1]

15   Andrea Masi Aironi
14   Giovanbattista Venditti Aironi
13   Tommaso Benvenuti Treviso
12   Alberto Sgarbi Treviso
11   Luke McLean Treviso
10   Kristopher Burton Treviso
9   Edoardo Gori Treviso
8   Sergio Parisse (Capt.) Stade Francais, France
7   Robert Barbieri Treviso
6   Alessandro Zanni Treviso
5   Quintin Geldenhuys Aironi
4   Cornelius van Zyl Treviso
3   Martin Castrogiovanni Leicester Tigers
2   Leonardo Ghiraldini Treviso
1   Andrea Lo Cicero Racing Metro, France
       
16   Tommaso D'Apice Aironi
17   Lorenzo Cittadini Treviso
18   Marco Bortolami Aironi
19   Simone Favaro Aironi
20   Fabio Semenzato Treviso
21   Tobias Botes Treviso
22   Gonzalo Canale Clermont Auvergne
       
    COACH: Jacques Brunel

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