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
Ireland believe France remain a potent force because of their variety of attacking options
Michael Schumacher's condition is showing "small encouraging signs" of recovery, though he remains in the wake-up phase from his medically-induced coma
Arsene Wenger was left furious at Arjen Robben after Arsenal's Champions League last-16 exit to Bayern Munich and branded the winger a "good diver"
Jenson Button has spoken candidly for the first time on the 'horrific' and heart-breaking grief he suffered after his father's death earlier this year.
Wayne Rooney has revealed his ambition to captain not just Manchester United but also England on a permanent basis
Ahead of his home grand prix and first race for Red Bull this weekend, Daniel Ricciardo sat down with media on the 29th floor of a Melbourne tower block to talk about his team's testing troubles, going up against a four-time champion and hooking up his si
SANZAR's expansion plans don't address the question of how you jazz up Super Rugby to make it the best rugby tournament in the world, Craig Dowd writes
Mark Hammett and the Hurricanes are struggling, but still he deserves more time to impart his philosophy on the Wellington franchise, Craig Dowd writes
Lewis Hamilton may not have come close to matching his 2008 title-winning season in recent years, but the regulations shake-up and the powerful Mercedes engine could see him sweep all before him in Formula One this season
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
Manchester United are in negotiations with Sporting Lisbon over the signing of defensive midfielder William Carvalho, according a report in the Daily Mail
Juan Mata wants to play in the No.10 role for Manchester United and does not see himself as the winger manager David Moyes is using him as
George Groves has called for foreign officials to be appointed for his rematch against Carl Froch at Wembley Stadium on May 31
Carl Froch's rematch with George Groves at Wembley Stadium on May 31 has sold 60,000 tickets in less than an hour
Manchester United are the latest Premier League club to track Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata and sources have told ESPN FC that they are seriously considering making a bid for the player this summer
The last time the British and Irish Lions toured Down Under, they lost out 2-1 to Australia in the series despite winning the first Test.
The events of last Saturday night in Las Vegas should be educational for all concerned with Froch-Groves II at Wembley, writes Steve Bunce
Joga Bonito's gone out of the window in Brazil. That's the view of Uruguay captain Diego Lugano, handily expressed ahead of their Confederations Cup semi-final showdown in Belo Horizonte.
After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend. Selected by our panel of experts, 11 of Saturday's star performers, along with a manager, are carefully chosen. Do you agree or disagree?
The start of the new Premier League season is still almost two months away but you can still bet on who will relegated come May 2014.