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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 14 October, 2019

Benetton youngster handed debut as Italy aim to avoid fourth Six Nations whitewash in a row

Marco Zanon, 21, will start at centre against France on Saturday.

Marco Zanon receives the man-of-the-match award after Benetton's win against Scarlets in the Pro14 last month.
Marco Zanon receives the man-of-the-match award after Benetton's win against Scarlets in the Pro14 last month.
Image: Elena Barbini/INPHO

ITALY HEAD COACH Conor O’Shea has named 21-year-old Benetton centre Marco Zanon in his side for Saturday’s Six Nations clash with France [KO 12.30pm, Virgin Media One].

Zanon will be making his international debut, after O’Shea made five changes to the side that was comprehensively beaten by England last weekend.

Michele Campagnaro, who was injured in the first half of the defeat at Twickenham, is replaced in midfield by Zanon.

The other four adjustments have been made to the pack. Tiziano Pasquali and Leonardo Ghiraldini return to the front row in place of Simone Ferrari and Luca Bigi. David Sisi is recalled to the second row at the expense of Dean Budd. In the back row, Gloucester’s Jake Polledri replaces Sebastian Negri.

The meeting with France offers Italy a final opportunity to avoid a fourth consecutive Six Nations whitewash by picking up their first championship win under Conor O’Shea. Their last victory in the competition came against Scotland in 2015.

Italy (v France):

15. Jayden Hayward (Benetton)
14. Edoardo Padovani (Zebre)
13. Marco Zanon (Benetton)
12. Luca Morisi (Benetton)
11. Angelo Esposito (Benetton)
10. Tommaso Allan (Benetton)
9. Tito Tebaldi (Benetton)

8. Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais — captain)
7. Jake Polledri (Gloucester)
6. Abraham Jurgens Steyn (Benetton)
5. Federico Ruzza (Benetton)
4. David Sisi (Zebre)
3. Tiziano Pasquali (Benetton)
2. Leonardo Ghiraldini (Toulouse)
1. Andrea Lovotti (Zebre)


16. Luca Bigi (Benetton)
17. Cherif Traore (Benetton)
18. Simone Ferrari (Benetton)
19. Alessandro Zanni (Benetton)
20. Sebastian Negri (Benetton)
21. Guglielmo Palazzani (Zebre)
22. Ian McKinley (Benetton)
23. Luca Sperandio (Benetton) 

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Paul Dollery

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