Italy makes 3 changes for Six Nations match against France
ROME (AP) — Italy coach Conor O'Shea has made three changes to his team for Saturday's Six Nations match against France after a series of injuries.
Flyhalf Carlo Canna replaces Tommaso Allan, who dislocated his shoulder in the 36-15 defeat in England and will miss the rest of the tournament. O'Shea will be hoping for a repeat of last year when Canna — in his first start — completed a full house of try, conversion, penalty and drop goal in a narrow 23-21 loss in France.
Angelo Esposito comes in on the right wing for Giulio Bisegni, while experienced hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini is back in the starting lineup in place of Ornel Gega, who has a slight neck injury.
Ghiraldini, who will win his 84th cap at the match in Rome, has recovered from a foot injury which forced him to pull out of the starting lineup at Twickenham.
Benetton Treviso winger Luca Sperandio has been named on the bench and could make his debut.
"Like every match in the Six Nations it will be very difficult because they have a team which is very, very strong," O'Shea said. "Like always, it's a great challenge. We are a good team but we still have to learn a lot and very quickly.
"The match will be very hard but our focus is on ourselves and our game plan. And having our game plan for 80 minutes because we haven't had that yet."
It will be Italy captain Sergio Parisse's 125th cap, moving him into eighth place in the list of players with the most international appearances, above South Africa wing Bryan Habana.
Italy: Edoardo Padovani, Angelo Esposito, Michele Campagnaro, Luke McLean, Giovanbattista Venditti, Carlo Canna, Edoardo Gori; Sergio Parisse (captain), Simone Favaro, Abraham Steyn, Andries van Schalkwyk, Marco Fuser, Lorenzo Cittadini, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Andrea Lovotti. Reserves: Tommaso D'Apice, Sami Panico, Dario Chistolini, George Biagi, Maxime Mbanda, Giorgio Bronzini, Tommaso Benvenuti, Luca Sperandio.