Rugby-Vintcent gets first Italy start against France


  • Rugby
  • Friday, 23 Feb 2024

(Reuters) - Ross Vintcent will make a first start for Italy against France away in the Six Nations on Sunday, after head coach Gonzalo Quesada named his team on Friday.

The South African-born 21-year-old, who qualifies for Italy through his maternal grandfather, came off the bench to earn his first cap in the 36-0 defeat to Ireland earlier this month, and starts against France at number eight.

Quesada has made six changes from the side which lost in Dublin, and Riccardo Favretto will also make his first start, replacing flanker Alessandro Izekor. Favretto's only previous cap came off the bench in 2021.

Martin Page-Relo gets his chance at scrumhalf, after Paolo Garbisi and Stephen Varney started the opening two games, and Varney is named among the replacements.

Tommaso Menoncello moves to wing with Federico Mori coming in at centre, prop Giosue Zilocchi replaces the injured Pietro Ceccarelli and hooker Giacomo Nicotera is in for Gianmarco Lucchesi who drops to the bench.

Matteo Canali could earn his first cap against France, with the lock named on the bench which also includes prop Simone Ferrari who missed the first two games through injury.

"Every game is a new opportunity to continue on the path of growth. We know how the last match went and it was useful to work on certain areas of the game," Quesada said.

"We want to show the best version of ourselves. We have heart, character and determination. All these characteristics must be put on the field against a team that is tactically and physically strong."

Italy team: 15-Ange Capuozzo, 14-Tommaso Menoncello, 13-Ignacio Brex, 12-Federico Mori, 11-Monty Ioane, 10-Paolo Garbisi, 9-Martin Page-Relo, 8-Ross Vintcent, 7-Michele Lamaro, 6-Riccardo Favretto, 5-Federico Ruzza, 4-Niccolo Cannone, 3- Giosue Zilocchi, 2-Giacomo Nicotera, 1-Danilo Fischetti.

Replacements: 16-Gianmarco Lucchesi, 17-Mirco Spagnolo, 18-Simone Ferrari, 19-Matteo Canali, 20-Andrea Zambonin, 21-Manuel Zuliani, 22-Stephen Varney, 23-Leonardo Marin.

(Reporting by Trevor Stynes; Editing by Toby Davis)

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