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Zanon debuts as one of five Italy changes

Zanon debuts as one of five Italy changes
  • Conor O'Shea makes five changes to Italy team to face France this weekend
  • Marco Zanon makes his debut at outside centre as only change to the backs
  • Flanker Jake Polledri, lock David Sisi, tighthead Tiziano Pasquali and hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini all start in the pack

Marco Zanon will make his international debut as one of five changes to the Italy side to take on France in the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday.

Italy and France kick off Super Saturday at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, looking to end the Championship on a high.

And Azzurri coach Conor O’Shea has opted to make five alterations to the starting line-up that lost 57-14 to England at Twickenham in Round Four – including Benetton Rugby’s 21-year-old Zanon starting at outside centre in place of the injured Michele Campagnaro.

That is the only switch to the back-line but in the pack, powerhouse flanker Jake Polledri starts in place of Sebastian Negri, while lock David Sisi replaces the injured Dean Budd – who is ruled out with a side issue.

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In the front row, Tiziano Pasquali is the preferred tighthead ahead of Simone Ferrari and 103-cap hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini comes in for Luca Bigi, who drops to the bench.

O’Shea said: “We will play against a very strong team as always happens in the Guinness Six Nations.

“Our focus will be on ourselves, trying to play our best rugby. We want to finish the Championship with a great performance at Stadio Olimpico.”

Italy team to face France:
15. Jayden Hayward (Benetton Rugby)
14. Edoardo PadovanI (Zebre Rugby Club)
13. Marco Zanon (Benetton Rugby)
12. Luca Morisi (Benetton Rugby)
11. Angelo Esposito (Benetton Rugby)
10. Tommaso Allan (Benetton Rugby)
9. Tito Tebaldi (Benetton Rugby)

1. Andrea Lovotti (Zebre Rugby Club)
2. Leonardo Ghiraldini (Stade Toulousain)
3. Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton Rugby)
4. David Sisi (Zebre Rugby Club)
5. Federico Ruzza (Benetton Rugby)
6. Braam Steyn (Benetton Rugby)
7. Jake Polledri (Gloucester Rugby)
8. Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais) – captain

Replacements:
16. Luca Bigi (Benetton Rugby)
17. Cherif Traore (Benetton Rugby)
18. Simone Ferrari (Benetton Rugby)
19. Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Rugby)
20. Sebastian Negri (Benetton Rugby)
21. Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre Rugby Club)
22. Ian McKinley (Benetton Rugby)
23. Luca Sperandio (Benetton Rugby)