Canna back as O'Shea makes three changes for France

by AFP
Carlo Canna will replace the injured Tommaso Allan at fly-half in one of three changes by Italy coach Conor O'Shea for Saturday's Six Nations clash against France at the Stadio Olimpico.
Italy, heading for another wooden spoon after three consecutive defeats to Wales, Ireland and England, host Les Bleus with redemption on their minds two weeks after an otherwise encouraging performance at Twickenham, highlighted by a novel tactic that caused their hosts untold problems in the first half.
England eventually ran out 36-15 winners with a strong last 20 minutes to secure a 17th consecutive win, in which Allan missed three penalties for the visitors before hobbling off injured. He will miss Italy's final two Six Nations matches.
O'Shea was encouraged with that performance, two weeks on from a humiliating nine-try 63-10 rout at home to Ireland.
"Two weeks ago against England no-one gave us even half a chance, but 12 minutes from the end we were trailing only 17-15, well in the game," said Irishman O'Shea.
"We have a long road in front of us and we're here to take it. France, as I've said, have great players - but so do we."
Connor O'Shea has seen plenty of positives in his Italy side lately. Photo: Getty Images.While a look at the Six Nations table makes grim reading for Italy - three games, three defeats, 18 tries and 132 points conceded to just four tries and 32 points mustered - but O'Shea is looking to the positives.
"We were leading at half-time against Wales (7-3) and England (10-5).

Now I want a team that sticks to the game plan for the whole 80 minutes to have the chance to bring home the victory."
Canna returns to the fore, with Angelo Esposito in at right wing to replace Giuglio Bisegni, who has been rested due to fatigue.
With hooker Ornel Gega also injured and out of the matchday squad, Leonardo Ghiraldini comes off the bench.
O'Shea said that sticking largely with the same team through the tournament was necessary to build consistency.
"It's obviously difficult for those who have not yet had the chance to play but right now we need to increase our solidity.

Cohesion is very important," he said.
"We have a great squad and the desire to change Italian rugby.

That's our aim; we know it's difficult but we will succeed."

Italy captain Sergio Parisse will start at No.8 to earn his 125th cap, in the process overtaking South Africa winger Bryan Habana to move up to eighth in the all-times appearances list.
Sergio Parisse will earn his 125th cap for the Italians against France. Photo: AFP.It is the 40th time the sides will meet, France winning 36 of their previous encounters and Italy three.

Italy's last win over France came at the Olimpico in 2013.
France's hopes of challenging tournament leaders England for the Six Nations titles faded after a 19-9 loss to Ireland in Dublin last time out.

Italy team for the Six Nations clash against France at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday (kick-off 1:30AM AEDT):


1. Andrea Lovotti

2. Leonardo Ghiraldini

3. Lorenzo Cittadini

4. Marco Fuser

5. Andries Van Schalkwyk

6. Braam Steyn

7. Simone Favaro

8. Sergio Parisse (capt)

9. Edoardo Gori

10. Carlo Canna

11. Giovanbattista Venditti

12. Luke McLean

13. Michele Campagnaro

14. Angelo Esposito

15. Edoardo Padovani


16. Tommasso D'Apice

17. Sami Panico

18. Dario Chistolini

19. George Biagi

20. Maxime Mbanda

21. Giorgio Bronzini

22. Tommaso Benvenuti

23. Luca Sperandio

France team yet to be announced.