Preview - Italy Under 20 v France Under 20

Preview - Italy Under 20 v France Under 20

Italy and France go head-to-head in search of a first win of the 2021 Six Nations Under-20s Championship in the second match of Friday’s triple header.

The Azzurrini were outclassed by Wales in their opening game, going down 25-8 in an absorbing contest under the Saturday night lights in Cardiff.

Costelow kicks Wales Under-20s to opening victory over Italy

That game was on hot on the heels of France’s opener, and Les Bleuets will be hoping to get the second half of their game against England quickly out of their system.

France led 19-3 at the break but scored just three second-half points as England completed a fine turnaround to win 38-22.

One of these sides will jolt their Championship into life, meaning there is plenty on the line when they meet at 5pm.

TEAM NEWS 

Italy have made six changes to the side that lost to Wales, with Lorenzo Cannone set to captain the Azzurrini.

Leonardo Marin moves from full-back to fly-half and will pull the strings alongside fellow half-back Alessandro Garbisi, who is also promoted to the starting XV.

Lorenzo Pani slots in at full-back, while Mattia Ferrarin – who started at 10 in the defeat to Wales last weekend – will have to wait for his opportunity from the bench.

France have freshened things up following their defeat to England and head coach Philippe Boher has made 12 changes to his side.

The likes of Matteo Garcia, Louis Bielle Biarrey and Thomas Ployet make their first starts of the Championship as Boher assesses the depth of his squad.

2021 Six Nations Under-20s: All you need to know

Captain Joshua Brennan is not available following a knee injury, so Killian Tixeront will take the armband in Cardiff.

WHAT THEY SAID 

France Under-20s head coach Philippe Boher said: "We have injured players like our captain, Joshua Brennan, who has a knee injury, or Daniel Bibi Biziwu and Léo Barré who we must spare because they have muscle or tendon problems.

“On the one hand, we had to take into account the physical glitches following the first clash against England. Then we have the will to have fresh players.

“We can count on a group with a lot of quality players with great values, so it's up to us, the management, to give almost all the players in the group a chance.”

Italy Under-20s head coach Massimo Brunello said: “We have worked a lot this week on the phases of the game that did not go as we wanted in the opening game.

“Discipline will be a fundamental aspect on which we will have to pay close attention against France.”

KEY BATTLE – Lorenzo Cannone v Killian Tixeront 

The battle at No.8 is key to any outcome but it will be an especially spicy affair on Friday evening, as the two captains face off.

Lorenzo Cannone and Killian Tixeront are two of the brighter talents on the field and so their back-row dual is not to be missed.

Both players will be wanting to make a statement as they prepare to take the armbands for the first time in this Championship, and getting one over on their opposite number is just what the doctor ordered.

TEAMS 

Italy: Lorenzo Pani, Flavio Pio Vaccari, Filippo Drago, Fabio Schiabel, Simone Gesi, Leonardo Marin, Alessandro Garbisi, Luca Rizzoli, T Di Bartolomeo, Muhamed Hasa, Riccardo Andreoli, Nicola Piantella, Giulio Marucchini, Ross Micheal Vintcent, Lorenzo Cannone (c)

Replacements: Matteo Baldelli, Mirco Spagnolo, Ion Neculai, Giacomo Ferrari, Giovanni Cenedese, Manfredi Albanese, Mattia Ferrarin, Tommaso Menoncello, Luca Andreani, Fabrizio Boschetti, Michele Brighetti

France: Matteo Garcia, Louis Bielle Biarrey, Emilien Gailleton, Romain Riguet, Nelson Epée, Edgar Retiere, Ugo Seguela, Thomas Moukoro, Benjamin Boudou, Akato Fakatika, Thomas Ployet, Adrien Warion, Pierre Bochaton, Jean-Baptiste Lachaise, Killian Tixeront (c)

Replacements: Téo Bordenave, Victor Montgaillard, Eliott Yemsi, Romain Macurdy, Matthias Haddad, Maxime Baudonne, Nolann Le Garrec, Thibault Debaes, Alfred Parisien, Alexandre Tchaptchet, Théo Ntamack


via SixNationsRugby.com



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