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Italy make three changes to face France in Paris

Italy make three changes to face France in Paris

Italy make three changes to face France in Paris

Franco Smith has made three changes to his starting line-up for Italy’s final group game in the Autumn Nations Cup against France in Paris on Saturday.

The Azzurri are without Jake Polledri and Sebastian Negri for the trip to Stade de France, with Maxime Mbanda and Johan Meyer coming into the back row in their stead.

In the backline, the only other change sees the return of Luca Sperandio to the wing in place of Mattia Bellini, while Michele Lamaro and Cristian Stoian could win their first caps from the bench.

And after the cancellation of their Round 2 clash with Fiji, Smith and his troops are looking forward to getting back on the pitch as they look to leapfrog France in the standings.

“We had extra days to better prepare for this meeting,” said Smith. “The forced stop last week further increased our desire to take the field on Saturday against France.

“It will be an intense match where we will have the opportunity to see other interesting young players at work as we continue our path of expanding the base at our disposal and building DNA.”

Italy are currently third in Group B after losing their opening match to Scotland before being awarded a 28-0 bonus-point win following the cancellation of their game with Fiji.

Les Bleus are one place and four points above them following last weekend’s win over Scotland, who are top with 11 points after Gregor Townsend’s side were also awarded maximum points against Fiji for their cancelled fixture this weekend.

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Victory for the Azzurri could see them overtake France in the standings to finish second ahead of Finals Weekend while Les Bleus can top the group if they defeat the visitors in Paris.

Italy team to face France

15. Matteo MINOZZI (Wasps)

14. Jacopo TRULLA (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano)

13. Marco ZANON (Benetton Rugby)

12. Carlo CANNA (Zebre Rugby Club)

11. Luca SPERANDIO (Benetton Rugby)

10. Paolo GARBISI (Benetton Rugby)

9. Marcello VIOLI (Zebre Rugby Club)

1. Danilo FISCHETTI (Zebre Rugby Club)

2. Luca BIGI (Zebre Rugby Club) (c)

3. Giosuè ZILOCCHI (Zebre Rugby Club)

4. Marco LAZZARONI (Benetton Rugby)

5. Niccolò CANNONE (Benetton Rugby)

6. Maxime MBANDA (Zebre Rugby Club)

7. Johan MEYER (Zebre Rugby Club)

8. Braam STEYN (Benetton Rugby)

Replacements

16. Leonardo GHIRALDINI (No club)

17. Simone FERRARI (Benetton Rugby)

18. Pietro CECCARELLI (Brive)

19. Cristian STOIAN (Fiamme Oro Rugby)

20. Michele LAMARO (Benetton Rugby)

21. Stephen VARNEY (Gloucester Rugby)

22. Tommaso ALLAN (Benetton Rugby)

23. Federico MORI (Kawasaki Robot Calvisano)

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