Four debutants in new-look Italy XV to face France


Italy will field a new-look team in their Six Nations opener against France on Saturday, with David Odiete and Mattia Bellini among four uncapped players selected by head coach Jacques Brunel.

Although skipper Sergio Parisse and fellow back-row forward Alessandro Zanni boast 208 caps between them, Italy's team is generally light on experience.

In addition to Mogliano full-back Odiete and Petrarca wing Bellini, there are debuts in the front row for Zebre prop Andrea Lovotti and Benetton Treviso hooker Ornel Gega.

Two more uncapped players - Davide Giazzon and Andries van Schalkwyk - are among the replacements.

George Biagi and Marco Fuser will team up in the second row for the first time, while Zebre's Carlo Canna has been selected at fly-half.

Brunel's line-up shows nine changes from the team that rounded off an unsuccessful 2015 Rugby World Cup pool campaign with victory over Romania at Exeter's Sandy Park.

France also named a XV featuring four debutants on Thursday.


Italy: David Odiete, Leonardo Sarto, Michele Campagnaro, Gonzalo Garcia, Mattia Bellini, Carlo Canna, Edoardo Gori; Andrea Lovotti, Ornel Gega, Lorenzo Cittadini, George Biagi, Marco Fuser, Francesco Minto, Alessandro Zanni, Sergio Parisse (captain).

Replacements: Davide Giazzon, Matteo Zanusso, Martin Castrogiovanni, Valerio Bernabo, Andries van Schalkwyk, Guglielmo Palazzani, Kelly Haimona, Luke McLean.