U20 6Nations Preview: France U20 vs Italy U20

U20 6Nations Preview: France U20 vs Italy U20

Italy U20 travel to Béziers looking to bounce back from the heartbreak of defeat in Ireland as they look to get the better of world champions France in the U20 Six Nations.

Gli Azzurrini were beaten by a late Sean Edogbo try against the defending Grand Slam champions, falling short by a single point.

They will now look to open their account against a French side that bounced back from a similarly battling loss to Ireland with a bonus-point win away in Scotland.

Les Bleuets had four tries on the board before half-time in round two, but had to deal with a number of injuries in the second half, leaving them with a centre playing in the back row.

With a much-changed team for this encounter, Sébastien Calvet will be hoping for a more settled time once the opening whistle has blown.

The two sides met in a warm-up match back in January, with the Italians victorious in Viadana, and they will look to do the same in Béziers.


The match will kick off at 9pm local time on Friday (8pm in the UK), and will be shown live on L’Equipe TV in France, and Sky Sport in Italy. Fans in the UK will be able to watch the match BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website.


France have made eight changes from the team that won in Scotland, the majority of those coming in the pack. Lino Julien and Robin Couly come into the front row, with Zinedine Aouad shifting from loosehead back to tighthead. Corentin Mézou takes over the captaincy in an unchanged second row, but there are three new faces in the back row as Noa Zinzen, Sialevailea Tolofua and Maël Perrin all come in.


Lucas Zamora and Jean Cotarmanac’h form a new-look half-back pairing, while Maxim Granell gets his first chance at this level on the left wing.

Italy have been able to pick a much more familiar side, with just two changes from the team that came so close in Ireland.

Samuele Mirenzi comes into the second row, while Valerio Siciliano is promoted to the starting role at hooker but otherwise it is as you were, with Jacopo Botturi again captaining the side.

Marco Scalabrin, who scored two tries and made another against Ireland, will start on the wing once more.


France manager Sébastien Calvet: “The third game is always a key moment in the Six Nations. The overlap with the Top 14 and the Pro D2, as well as injuries, have led to some rotation in the squad. But that is not something that is affecting us, it gives us the chance to evaluate more players, either to build up the squad for the World Cup, or to help those players in the first year of their development.”

Italy coach Massimo Brunello: “It will be a very difficult match, as always against them. France were worthy world champions and the fact they have won three in a row is proof of a movement that produces quality and quantity. We go into the game with the utmost respect for the players and the staff, looking to build on the friendly in Viadana, but without fooling ourselves into thinking this match will be the same.”


France U20: 15 Xan Mousques, 14 Maxence Biasotto, 13 Fabien Brau-Boirie, 12 Robin Taccola, 11 Maxim Granell, 10 Jean Cotarmanac’h, 9 Lucas Zamora; 1 Lino Julien, 2 Robin Couly, 3 Zinedine Aouad, 4 Corentin Mézou (c), 5 Antonin Corso, 6 Noa Zinzen, 7 Sialevailea Tolofua, 8 Maël Perrin

Replacements: 16 Lyam Akrab, 17 Sascha Mistrulli, 18 Thomas Duchêne, 19 Hugo Descube, 20 Noa Traversier, 21 Thomas Souverbie, 22 Mathys Belaubre, 23 Oliver Cowie

Italy U20: 15 Mirko Belloni, 14 Marco Scalabrin, 13 Federico Zanandrea, 12 Nicola Bozzo, 11 Lorenzo Elettri, 10 Martino Pucciariello, 9 Lorenzo Casilio; 1 Federico Pisani, 2 Valerio Siciliano, 3 Marcos Gallorini, 4 Samuele Mirenzi, 5 Piero Gritti, 6 Cesare Zucconi, 7 Luca Bellucci, 8 Jacopo Botturi (c)

Replacements: 16 Nicholas Gasperini, 17 Sergio Pellicciolli, 18 Davide Ascari, 19 Giacomo Milano, 20 Mattia Midena, 21 Mattia Jimenez, 22 Francesco Imberti, 23 Patrick de Villiers

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