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Italy – France

Italy France Six Nations betting preview

The Italians will try to claim their first Six Nations win since 2015 when France visits Rome on the final day of the 2019 tournament, and Italy will feel this is their best chance in years to get that elusive victory.

The Azzurri were beaten and outplayed in the first 4 matches, as expected, but even so there was visible improvement shown by Conor O’Shea’s men. Italy managed to keep the scores respectable in the first three losses against Scotland (by 13), Wales (by 11) and Ireland (by 10), before getting pummeled 14-57 by England last week at Twickenham. While Italy never got a real chance to challenge for a win, and the narrow losses against Scotland and Wales came in favorable circumstances, it`s a fact that Italy has played above expectations this year – and their match against Ireland three weeks ago in Rome was a really, really good one from the Azzuri.

France is having another disappointing tournament so far, but the team can still save some face with a win in Italy. The French have been decent at home, losing a narrow match to Wales after blowing a 16 point lead (bad loss, but France did play one excellent half of rugby), and convincingly beating an injury ravaged Scotland. But away from home France has been dreadful. Les Bleus were demolished 8-44 by England at Twickenham and lost 14-26 last week in Ireland – a misleading result, as they were trailing 0-26 in the 77th minute.

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Team news & lineups:

Italy will make 5 changes to the lineup which got pummeled in England last week. They will miss Campagnaro, but the in form Polledri`s inclusion in the starting lineup will provide a boost.

France will make 6 changes to the lineup which lost in Ireland. There are a couple of big names like Vahaamahina missing, but on the other hand Fofana`s return is great news for Les Bleus.

Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Edoardo Padovani, 13 Marco Zanon, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Angelo Esposito, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Abraham Jurgens Steyn, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 David Sisi, 3 Tiziano Pasquali, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Andrea Lovotti

France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Gregory Alldritt, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Felix Lambey, 3 Demba Bamba, 2 Guilhem Guirado (c), 1 Etienne Falgoux

The Italians haven`t beaten France since 2013, and the French have been able to save their Six Nations seasons in the last few years with wins over the Azzurri. In the previous two years, France won by 22 and 17 points respectively.

However, Italy will definitely feel that this is a perfect chance to get one over France and finally win a Six Nations match after 4 years of humiliations.

France is a mess under Brunel, there`s no doubt about that, and Les Bleus have been particularly bad on the road this season, with two horrible losses at the hands of England and Ireland. Last weekend`s 14-26 loss in Dublin was much worse than the score suggests – with France being completely outplayed, and unable to create any offense until two late tries in garbage time.

On this note of French struggles, the Italians will be confident, knowing that they looked better this season than in the previous years. Italy was competitive in the first three games, and even in the 43 point loss last week in England they showed some good signs. Of course, they were blown out of the park by the mighty Red Rose, but they tried to play positive rugby and had some good stretches offensively.

France is still the better team here, but the way Italy played in Rome this season, chances are it will not be a walk in the park. Both Wales (albeit with a second string lineup) and Ireland struggled to win here and if Italy brings the same level and intensity as in those games, France will be in for a really tough challenge.

One reason of worry for the Italians is the fact that this match comes just one week after the clash in England, which was a difficult one, and raises questions about Italy`s ability to play their best today. It has been a challenge in the last few years for Italy to play two games in space of one week at the same level.

However, Italy showed clear improvement physically this year, they did not collapse at the end of games like previously, and the 5 changes in the lineup will be useful in fresh legs. Plus, very importantly, France has one less day of rest (having played Sunday). This should make this an even playing field in terms of fitness.

Weather is expected to be good for rugby, with no rain and no strong winds.

France remains the favorite, but Italy has shown progress, and the Azzurri proved they have the tools to challenge the big nations at home this year. If France doesn`t get it together they are in danger of losing this. But even if France plays well, winning by double digits will be a tough task against a motivated and confident Italian side. After all, Wales and Ireland barely did it, and France is quite some way behind those teams right now.

I expect the hosts to play this with more energy than France at home, and that could be a difference maker. My tip will be Italy to cover the +9,5 handicap. Prediction: Italy – France 25 – 26.

Pick: Italy +9,5
Odds: 1.96 @ Sbobet
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 7.68
Event date: 16 March

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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