Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Rugby | Six Nations

Philippe Saint-Andre © Reuters

French wary of another Italian 'tsunami'



France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has warned his team against complacency in their Six Nations opener in Rome on Sunday, claiming traditional makeweights Italy are "no longer a little team".

France were stunned by the Italians two years ago when a 22-21 loss sent shockwaves through the sport and Saint-Andre is wary of becoming another French fall-guy.

"They are no longer a little team even of public opinion thinks they are. Italy are progressing, they have evolved in their structure and organisation," said the French coach.

"This will be a complicated match. We respect the Italians. We have watched them and we know that if we do not play at a high level then it will be difficult.

"Statistics made France the favourites two years ago but the loss created a tsunami in France. We can only think of this game, not the ones to come."

Former skipper Thierry Dusautoir has been recalled to the France team.

The 31-year-old flanker, who captained France in the 2011 World Cup final against New Zealand, last played for the national side in last year's Six Nations tournament.

He was then rested for the tour of Argentina and was ruled out of the November test matches with an inured knee.

In that time, Saint-Andre handed the captaincy over to Stade Francais lock Pascal Pape and he impressed in the job in the wins over Australia, Argentina and Samoa.

Other changes see Racing Metro's Benjamin Fall come in on the wing for the injured Vincent Clerc, while Yoann Huget gets the nod at full-back ahead of the injured Brice Dulin.

Saint-Andre said the toughest choice had been in the back row where Yannick Nyanga, who impressed on his return to the team in November, was left out of the final 23-man squad to make way for the return of Dusautoir alongside his Toulouse teammate Fulgence Ouedraogo.

Italy's French coach Jacques Brunel's hopes of making his team believe they can gain at least two wins in this year's tournament will face a significant hurdle against France at the Olympic Stadium.

Brunel led Italy to a fifth place finish last year thanks to a closing 13-6 victory over Scotland in Rome, having produced one of their best ever performances in a 15-19 loss to England.

However the jury remains out on whether those feats, as well as two promising displays against New Zealand and Australia in last November's test series, are a sure sign that Italy is ready to rock the big boys of European rugby.

Heading into Sunday's match against the World Cup finalists, Italy should be boosted by their win in 2011.

That, says captain and No 8 Sergio Parisse, means France have no option but to take Italy seriously.

"France are a great team, but there's no doubt about the fact they have respect for us. In 2011 we beat them at Flaminio," said Parisse, who plays at French Top 14 side Stade Francais.

"We all know their individual qualities, but we'll be going into this match with no fear, as we do every time."

Tobias Botes has been named at scrum-half for Italy in place of Edoardo Gori while Luke McLean replaces injured Mirco Bergamasco on the left wing.

Also featuring on Sunday will be full-back Andrea Masi who scored the try in the 22-21 win two years ago, while Brunel has also gone for youth elsewhere in the backs with Giovanbattista Venditti, 22, on the wing and Tommaso Benvenuti, also 22, at centre.

Luciano Orquera, who shone in the November tests against New Zealand and Australia, remains at fly-half.

Shop

SA Rugby Annual 2013
SA Rugby Annual 2013: The Official Year Book of the South African Rugby Union
R175.89
SA rugby annual 2014
The 2014 SA Rugby Annual is the official record of the South African season and is widely considered to be one of the finest yearbooks in world rugby
R175.89


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

Sun, 20 Apr @ 17:00
Fri, 18 Apr @ 05:00
Sun, 20 Apr @ 20:50

Sports Talk



Brendan Venter
The value of versatility
With injuries a constant diet in a competition as gruelling as Super Rugby, I believe the currency...

Tony Johnson
Super Rugby mid-term report
We’re about halfway through the round robin, so a mid-term report might be in order.

Gavin Rich
It ain’t won in April...or May
One of Naas Botha’s famous comments from back when he was a player was that the Currie Cup wasn’t...

Brenden Nel
The importance of Matfield
Much has been debated about Victor Matfield’s comeback over the past few months, with opinions...

Super Wrap
Season's bleatings
Christmas can come early and this year the Bulls decided to bring it to us not even halfway into a...

Duane Heath
Alvizo's reprieve
Alvizo Erasmus has never met Jannie du Plessis and probably never will, but these two men, who ply...