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Six Nations: France make six changes for Italy, recall Fofana

Wesley Fofana returns to the France XV to face Italy this weekend. (Photo by Frederic Stevens/Getty Images)

France have made six changes for their Six Nations match against Italy on Saturday, with head coach Jacques Brunel recalling centre Wesley Fofana for their final match of the 2019 tournament.

Fofana has been injured for France's past three fixtures after starting their Six Nations opener against Wales last month and replaces Gael Fickou in midfield.

Etienne Falgoux is handed his first France start at prop, in one of four changes to the forward pack.

Falgoux comes in for the injured Jefferson Poirot while Paul Willemse, Yacouba Camara and Gregory Alldritt return to the side.

Maxime Medard starts at fullback as his Toulouse teammate Thomas Ramos drops to the bench.

Once again there is no place on the bench for fly-half Morgan Parra but Camille Lopez is among the replacements.

Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack remain at No. 9 and No. 10 for the clash in Rome, as France look to pick up only their second win of this year's tournament following defeats to England, Wales and Ireland and victory against Scotland.

"He [Fofana] deserves to get another look and this was our last chance," Brunel said. "We are going to take a look at him.

"We want to show a different face this week, but the results speak themselves. We are not at the level of some of the other teams in this Championship."

Meanwhile, Italy have handed Marco Zanon his full international debut in one of five changes to the team that lost to England.

Table-propping Italy are hoping to avoid another whitewash in the competition while France are one place above them with six points.

Zanon, 21, will replace Michele Campagnaro in the back line where he will play alongside his Benetton team mate Luca Morisi.

The other four changes were in the pack where Jake Polledri returns in the back row, David Sisi is in the second row for the injured Dean Budd and Tiziano Pasquali and Leonardo Ghiraldini return to the front row.

"Our focus will be on ourselves and on trying to play our best rugby," said coach Conor O'Shea. "We want to finish the competition with a great performance at the Stadio Olimpico.

France XV:

15. Maxime M├ędard, 14. Damian Penaud, 13. Mathieu Bastareaud, 12. Wesley Fofana, 11. Yoann Huget, 10. Romain Ntamack, 9. Antoine Dupont; 1. Etienne Falgoux, 2. Guilhem Guirado (c), 3. Demba Bamba, 4. Felix Lambey, 5. Paul Willemse, 6. Gregory Alldritt, 7. Yacouba Camara, 8. Louis Picamoles

Replacements: 16. Camille Chat, 17. Dany Priso, 18. Dorian Aldegheri, 19. Paul Gabrillagues, 20. Arthur Itturia, 21. Baptiste Serin, 22. Camille Lopez, 23. Thomas Ramos.

Italy XV:

15. Jayden Hayward, 14. Edoardo Padovani, 13. Marco Zanon, 12. Luca Morisi, 11. Angelo Esposito, 10. Tommaso Allan, 9. Tito Tebaldi, 8. Sergio Parisse, 7. Jake Polledri, 6. Abraham Steyn, 5. Federico Ruzza, 4. David Sisi, 3. Tiziano Pasquali, 2. Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 .Andrea Lovotti

Replacements: 16-Luca Bigi, 17-Cherif Traore, 18-Simone Ferrari, 19-Alessandro Zanni, 20-Sebastian Negri, 21-Guglielmo Palazzani, 22-Ian McKinley, 23-Luca Sperandio

Information from Reuters was used in this report.