Italy and France will raise the curtain on the 2021 Six Nations at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Saturday afternoon.
The northern half of the globe’s yearly head worldwide rugby association rivalry returns after a lot more limited nonattendance than expected, with the 2020 competition being finished up in October because of a seven-month delay brought about by Covid.
Italy – who designated previous Springbok Franco Smith as their lead trainer consistently the previous summer – completed lower part of the heap indeed a year ago after a Super Saturday rout by champions England and stay without a Six Nations triumph since 2015.
They missed out to Scotland and France at the ensuing Autumn Nations Cup, with their solitary success in Group B naturally granted after Fiji’s battles with Covid-19.
Then, France short of breath up passing up an initial Six Nations title since their 2010 Grand Slam a year ago, with the misfortune to Scotland at Murrayfield demonstrating basic as they were at last pipped by England on focuses distinction.
Fabien Galthie’s side acquired vengeance for that rout by beating Scotland at the Autumn Nations Cup, where they went right to the last – where they lost to England – in spite of a concurrence with Top 14 clubs meaning they were without a few vital participants.
The French Rugby Federation (FFR) have now said that Galthie should utilize similar crew of 31 players all through this Six Nations due to Covid limitations.
Italy vs France date, time and venue
There will be no fans in attendance at the Stadio Olimpico due to Covid-19 protocols.
How to watch Italy vs France
TV channel: In the UK, the Six Nations opener will be shown live on ITV, with coverage beginning at 1:30pm.
Live stream: Fans can also watch the match via the ITV website or ITV Hub.
Italy vs France team news
There is an inexperienced and youthful feel to the Italy squad named for this Six Nations, with an average age of just 20.
Smith continues with the half-back pairing of Welsh-born Gloucester 9 Stephen Varney and Benetton’s Paolo Garbisi.
The Argentine-born Juan Ignacio Brex will make his debut at inside centre, while no8 Michele Lamaro is in for his first Italy start. Montanna Ioane earns only his second cap on the left wing.
France are without injured trio Romain Ntamack, Virimi Vakatawa and Francois Cros, with Matthieu Jalibert staying in alongside star scrum-half Antoine Dupont, Arthur Vincent partnering Gael Fickou in the centres and Dylan Cretin lining up on the blindside.
Italy vs France prediction: Away win
Italy may play some vibrant, attacking rugby with a young squad under Smith, but it would be a surprise not to see their woeful winless Six Nations run continue for another year.
Resurgent France are vastly more experienced as they look to make up for their 2020 disappointment and should open the new campaign with a big win in Rome.