France host Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup in Paris on Saturday night, an opportunity for Les Bleus to seal their place in the final.
France v Italy, Saturday 28th November, Paris, KO 22:10 (South African time)
Referee: Nigel Owens
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley, Mike Adamson
TMO: Sam Grove-White
Weather Forecast: Paris
France need to avoid defeat here in order to finish top of this pool and reach the play off final where England would look to be the most likely opponents. Fiji's non participation due to Covid saw all their opponents awarded a 28-0 victory.
A hard earned 22-15 win away to Scotland last week was in line with the pre-match handicap and kept Les Bleus on the right path after a solid 6 Nations campaign saw them finish as runners up to England on points difference. They will look back on a defeat (28-17) in Edinburgh in Round 4 back in March as the definitive result in terms of them missing out on winning that tournament.
In the outright betting to win the Autumn Nations Cup France are now trading at around 33/10 whilst England are 1 / 3.
Italy's only Nations Cup fixture so far saw them go down 28-17 at home to Scotland, a game where the pre-match handicap proved to be pretty accurate. Last week's slated clash with Fiji was called off and whilst that will be recorded as an Italy win, it's been another miserable year.
In this season's 6 Nations Italy lost all their matches including a 35-22 defeat to France in Paris in what was arguably their best display in that tournament. They had started 2020 with a 42-0 hiding off Wales in Cardiff and since the return from lockdown they were thrashed 50-17 by Ireland in Dublin and then went down 34-5 to England in Rome
France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Jean-Pascal Barraque, 12 Jonathan Danty, 11 Gabin Villiere, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Baptiste Serin, 8 Anthony Jelonch, 7 Sekou Macalou, 6 Cameron Woki, 5 Baptiste Pesenti, 4 Killian Geraci, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Rodrigue Neti
Replacements: 16 Teddy Baubigny, 17 Hassane Kolignar, 18 Uini Atonio, 19 Cyril Cazeaux, 20 Swan Rebbadj, 21 Baptiste Couilloud, 22 Louis Carbonel, 23 Yoram Moefana
Italy: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Jacopo Trulla, 13 Marco Zanon, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Luca Sperandio, 10 Paolo Garbisi, 9 Marcello Violi, 8 Braam Steyn, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Maxime Mbanda, 5 Niccolò Cannone, 4 Marco Lazzaroni, 3 Giosuè Zilocchi, 2 Luca Bigi (c), 1 Danilo Fischetti
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Simone Ferrari, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Cristian Stoian, 20 Michele Lamaro, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Federico Mori
6N & RWC Head to Head (any venue)
2020 6N Paris France 35–22 Italy (Tries 5-3)
2019 6N Rome Italy 14-25 France (Tries 1-3 )
2018 6N Marseille France 34–17 England (Tries 3-1)
2017 6N Rome Italy 18-40 France (Tries 2-4 )
2016 6N Paris France 23–21 Italy (Tries 3-2)
The Betting – Handicap
France -15.5 points at 11/10 Sunbet
Italy +16.5 points at 9/10 Hollywood
Note, odds quoted are correct at the time of writing but are subject to change.
Although France have made wholesale changes they are building depth and they come up against an Italy side who have not impressed.
A smallish handicap play on the minus is my pick.
Bet: 2 of 5 units France -15.5 points at 11/10 Sunbet
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