One of the finest days of the rugby year starts with Italy taking on France in a game that once again decides the wooden spoon and not much else. Bookmakers have France winning their second game of the Championship but even that might leave them less satisfied than Italy, who have probably made more individual strides as a unit over the course of the Championship than the French.
If there is one positive to make for France, it is that they have managed to blood a number of promising, in form new players, although there is still a huge amount for them to work on ahead of the World Cup, especially their away form. They were dominant against Wales early on and good winners against Scotland, but both of those came at home, and Scotland were missing the huge bulk of their players.
Away from home they have shipped ten tries in hefty defeats and whilst France are not better than either England or Ireland, Italy have been much improved at home. A much changed Welsh side gave them impetus in what was an 11 point defeat, but they lost by just ten to a fully first first string Irish team and that was not a flattering margin. They were leading at half time there and can give this France side a lot to think about.
3 pts Italy +10 (10/11 general)
1 pt Italy/France (6/1 Boylesports)
Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Marco Zanon, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Angelo Esposito, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Abraham Jurgens Steyn, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 David Sisi, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Luca Bigi, 17 Cherif Traore’, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 Alessandro Zanni, 20 Sebastian Negri, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 Luca Sperandio
France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Gregory Alldritt, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Felix Lambey, 3 Demba Bamba, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Etienne Falgoux
Replacements: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Dany Priso, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Paul Gabrillagues, 20 Arthur Iturria, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Thomas Ramos