Italy boss Brunel rings changes for Paris trip
February 7, 2014
Brunel has not held back in his squad selection © Getty Images
Jacques Brunel has named five changes ahead of Italy's trip to Paris to face France in the Six Nations.
After his first-minute blunder against Wales, Angelo Esposito makes way for Tommaso Iannone, while Gonzalo Garcia moves to outside centre in place of Alberto Sgarbi after a six-month injury layoff. In the pack, prop Alberto de Marchi and lock Joshua Furno come in for Michele Rizzo and Marco Bortolami, who won his 100th cap against Wales, while Francesco Minto comes in at flanker for Alessandro Zanni.
Sergio Parisse continues as captain at No. 8, while Mauro Bergamasco moves closer to joining Bortolami as he lines up for his 97th international cap.
Italy have won two of their last three Six Nations encounters against France - though both of those came in Rome and not on the road. Italy ran Wales close last weekend but Brunel believes his side can cut down the error count which cost them dearly in Cardiff.
"France's strength is their history," Brunel said. "They are World Cup runners-up.
"They had a difficult time last year but they started the Six Nations with a victory over England and that has given them a lot of confidence in their game.
"Of course our wins against them are important. I think for some time now, Italy have been improving and we all know that.
"If we play at the level we are capable of playing at, then we can get close to the top teams. We hope that on Sunday we can remain in the game as long as possible but we will need to play a perfect game."
Italy: McLean, Iannone, Campagnaro, Garcia, Scarto, Allan, Gori; De Marchi, Ghiraldini, Castrogiovani, Geldenhuys, Funro, Minto, Bergamasco, Parisse (c).
Replacements: Giazzon, Rizzo, Cittadini, Bortolami, Zanni, Botes, Orquera, Esposito.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
Roger Federer maintained pressure on Novak Djokovic in the race for world No.1 status after a 6-4 6-4 win against Lucas Pouille earned him a place in the last eight at the Paris Masters, before the Serb saw off Gael Monfils to set up a clash with Andy Mur
Sam Burgess has revealed his high-profile, six-figure switch of rugby codes was based on "the challenge" that will await him - and not next year's World Cup in England
Nico Rosberg says the gloves can come off completely in his duel with Lewis Hamilton at the United States Grand Prix now Mercedes has wrapped up the constructors' championship
FIA president Jean Todt will decide what action should be taken against Marussia and Caterham for missing this weekend's US Grand Prix after the stewards found both teams in breach of the regulations but opted not to impose a penalty
Max Verstappen wants Jean-Eric Vergne as his team-mate at Toro Rosso next year