Italy v France in Paris (6 Nations)
Venue: Stade de France
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
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
|13||Aurelien Rougerie||Clermont Auvergne|
|12||Wesley Fofana||Clermont Auvergne|
|11||Julien Malzieu||Clermont Auvergne|
|7||Julien Bonnaire||Clermont Auvergne|
|6||Thierry Dusautoir (Capt.)||Toulouse|
|5||Lionel Nallet||Racing Metro|
|4||Pascal Pape||Stade Francais|
|1||Vincent Debaty||Clermont Auvergne|
|16||Dimitri Szarzewski||Stade Francais|
|20||Morgan Parra||Clermont Auvergne|
|COACH: P. Saint-Andre|
|8||Sergio Parisse (Capt.)||Stade Francais, France|
|4||Cornelius van Zyl||Treviso|
|3||Martin Castrogiovanni||Leicester Tigers|
|1||Andrea Lo Cicero||Racing Metro, France|
|22||Gonzalo Canale||Clermont Auvergne|
|COACH: Jacques Brunel|