Italy shuffle their deck for France
March 10, 2011
Gonzalo Garcia returns to the Italian midfield © Getty Images
Italy boss Nick Mallett has made seven changes to his side to face France at the Stadio Flaminio on Saturday. The Azzurri are without a win so far in this year's Six Nations following defeats to Ireland, England and Wales and Mallett has again shuffled his deck, including eight players in his starting XV that play their club rugby in France.
Racing Metro's Andrea Masi starts at fullback for the first time since February 2009, replacing Luke McLean, while Treviso's Gonzalo Garcia makes his first start of the Championship after missing most of the last 12 months through injury.
He takes Alberto Sgarbi's place at inside-centre, while Tommaso Benvenuti earns his first start in the tournament on the right wing. Brive's Luciano Orquera replaces Kristopher Burton at fly-half and 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 for Salvatore Perugini and Leonardo Ghiraldini respectively.
France head coach Marc Lievremont has made three changes to the side beaten by England. Two of the changes occur in the pack, with Sylvain Marconnet taking over from Thomas Domingo at loose-head prop and Julien Bonnaire getting the nod at openside flanker ahead of Imanol Harinordoquy, who drops to the bench.
Despite widespread speculation that he would be dropped, Sebastien Chabal has held on to the No.8 jersey and will line out in the French back row alongside Bonnaire and Thierry Dusautoir, who will again skipper the side.
Italy: 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)
France: M Medard (Toulouse); Y Huget (Bayonne), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), D Yachvili (Biarritz); S Marconnet (Stade Francais), W Servat (Toulouse), N Mas (Toulouse); J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), L Nallet (Racing Metro); T Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), J Bonnaire (Bourgoin), S Chabal (Racing Metro).
Replacements: G Guirado (Perpignan), L Ducalcon (Castres), J Thion (Biarritz), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz), M Parra (Clermont Auvergne), D Traille (Biarritz), C Poitrenaud (Toulouse)
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (NZ)
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