Wednesday 25 April 2018

Mallett rings the changes

Italy coach Nick Mallett has made seven changes to his side to face France in Saturday's RBS Six Nations match at the Stadio Flaminio.

The former South Africa coach has included eight players in his starting XV that play their club rugby in France.

Racing Metro star Andrea Masi replaces Luke McLean at full-back, taking over a role he has not featured in for the Azzurri since February 2009.

Treviso's Gonzalo Garcia makes a first start after missing most of the last 12 months through injury and will take Alberto Sgarbi's place at centre, while Tommaso Benvenuti earns his first start in the tournament on the right wing.

Luciano Orquera replaces Kristopher Burton at number 10 while lock Quintin Geldenhuys drops to the bench, with Carlo Antonio Del Fava taking his place.

Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni is the only player in Italy's front row to retain his spot following the defeat to Wales, with Racing Metro pair Andrea Lo Cicero and Carlo Festuccia coming into the side.

Italy will be looking for their first win of the campaign after losing 24-16 to Wales last time out, having previously been trounced 59-13 by England at Twickenham.

Mallett's men had fallen 13-11 to Ireland in their Six Nations opener.

Italy team to face France in the RBS 6 Nations on Saturday:

A Masi (Racing Metro); T Benvenuti (Treviso), G Canale (Clermont Auvergne), G Garcia (Treviso), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Francais); L Orquera (Brive), F Semenzato (Treviso); A Lo Cicero (Racing Metro), C Festuccia (Racing Metro), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester), S Dellape (Racing Metro), C Del Fava (Aironi), A Zanni (Treviso), R Barbieri (Treviso), S Parisse (Stade Francais).

Replacements: L Ghiraldini (Treviso), S Perugini (Aironi), Q Geldenhuys (Aironi), P Derbyshire (Treviso), P Canavosio (Aironi), K Burton (Treviso), L McLean (Treviso).

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport