Canna back as O'Shea makes three changes

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 18:51
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TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: Carlo Canna will replace injured Tommaso Allan at flyhalf in one of three changes by Italy coach Conor O'Shea for Saturday's Six Nations clash against France at the Stadio Olimpico.

Italy, heading for another wooden spoon after three consecutive defeats to Wales, Ireland and England, host Les Bleus with redemption on their minds two weeks after an otherwise encouraging performance at Twickenham.

England ran out 36-15 winners to secure what was their 17th consecutive win, in which Allan missed three penalties for the visitors before hobbling off injured. He will miss Italy's final two Six Nations matches.

Canna returns to the fore, with Angelo Esposito in at right wing to replace Giuglio Bisegni, who has been rested due to fatigue.

With hooker Ornel Gega also injured and out of the matchday squad, Leonardo Ghiraldini comes off the bench.

Italy captain Sergio Parisse will start at No.8 to earn his 125th cap, in the process overtaking South Africa wing Bryan Habana to move up to eighth in the all-times appearances list.

It is the 40th time the sides will meet, France winning 36 of their previous encounters and Italy three. Italy's last win over France came at the Olimpico in 2013.

France's hopes of challenging tournament leaders England for the Six Nations titles faded after a 9-19 loss to Ireland in Dublin last time out.

Italy: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Luke McLean, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse (captain), 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Braam Steyn, 5 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lovotti.
Replacements: 16 Tommasso D'Apice, 17 Sami Panico, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 George Biagi, 20 Maxime Mbanda, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Tommaso Benvenuti, 23 Luca Sperandio 

Date: Saturday, March 11
Venue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome
Kick-off: 14.30 (13.30 GMT)
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), JP Doyle (England)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Agence France-Presse

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RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
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SIX NATIONS
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Team P W D L Pts
England 5 4 0 1 19
Ireland 5 3 0 2 14
France 5 3 0 2 14
Scotland 5 3 0 2 14
Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0