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Rugby: Italy coach rings changes for France clash

Rugby: Italy coach rings changes for France clash

Quesada starts uncapped Page-Relo at scrumhalf

ROME, 23 February 2024, 14:38

ANSA English Desk

ANSACheck

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Italy coach Gonzalo Quesada has transformed his starting lineup for Sunday's Six Nations match against France in Lille, with a host of changes from the side that lost 36-0 in Ireland last time out.
    Martin Page-Relo, who was born in France and plays his club rugby there for Lyon, will pick up his first Azzurri cap at scrumhalf, with Stephen Varney dropping to the bench after a poor game in Dublin.
    In the back row, Ross Vintcent and Riccardo Favretto will make their first starts for the national team at number eight and blindside flanker respectively.
    Centre Federico Mori makes his first start for Italy in almost two years, with Tommaso Menoncello shifted to the right wing.
    The Azzurri are without important players such as Sebastian Negri, Lorenzo Cannone, Edoardo Iachizzi and Pietro Ceccarelli due to injuries, while veteran fullback/flyhalf Tommaso Allan has decided to take a break from the national team for family reasons.
    Italy are bottom of the Six Nations table with one point from two games after losing to Ireland and 27-24 to England in their opener in Rome.
    "I didn't count how many changes I made in the lineup compared to the match against Ireland," Quesada told a news conference.
    "We are adapting to Sunday's game and dealing with some injuries.
    "The group is the same one that has been working together for three weeks.
    "I'm working hard to give maximum opportunities to the players we feel are ready.
    "Winning the ball wasn't our strong point against England and Ireland, so we need to continue working on this.
    "France will want to bring a lot of physicality, but we have to play our game and impose our game plan" Italy team: 15 Ange Capuozzo 14 Tommaso Menoncello 13 Juan Ignacio Brex 12 Federico Mori 11 Monty Ioane 10 Paolo Garbisi 9 Martin Page-Relo 1 Danilo Fischetti 2 Giacomo Nicotera 3 Giosuè Zilocchi 4 Niccolò Cannone 5 Federico Ruzza 6 Riccardo Favretto 7 Michele Lamaro - captain 8 Ross Vintcent.
    Replacements: 16 Gianmarco Lucchesi 17 Mirco Spagnolo 18 Simone Ferrari 19 Matteo Canali 20 Andrea Zambonin 21 Manuel Zuliani 22 Stephen Varney 23 Leonardo Marin.
   

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