The hosts head to Lyon looking to maintain their 100 per cent record at their home tournament and keep momentum rolling ahead of a blockbuster quarter-final clash that is likely to be against defending champions South Africa.
Fabien Galthie’s side just need to avoid defeat against Italy to ensure their last-eight berth as group winners, while the Azzurri need to win as they still cling on to hopes of reaching the knockout phase for the first time in their history despite a humiliating 96-17 demolition job by rampant New Zealand last week.
Inspirational captain Antoine Dupont is said to be hitting his targets in training after undergoing surgery in Toulouse on the facial fracture he suffered in France’s last game, the 96-0 drubbing of minnows Namibia on September 21, but won’t play tonight as he awaits a final decision on Monday if he can return at all at this World Cup.
Date, kick-off time and venue
France vs Italy takes place tonight, Friday October 6, 2023, with kick-off scheduled for 8pm BST and 9pm local time.
The match will be held at the OL Stadium in Lyon.
Where to watch France vs Italy
TV channel: In the UK, the game will be broadcast live and for free on ITV1, with coverage starting at 7:30pm.
Live stream: You can also tune into the match for free online via the ITVX website or app.
Live blog: Follow all the action on Friday with Standard Sport’s live match blog.
France vs Italy team news
France have made two changes to face Italy, including Maxime Lucu - rather than Baptiste Couilloud - coming in for Dupont at scrum-half. Gregory Alldritt also comes back in at No 8 as Anthony Jelonch switches to flanker in place of Francois Cros.
Flanker Charles Ollivon will captain his country for the 14th time with no Dupont, while Damian Penaud will look to continue his try-scoring streak.
Italy have changed their entire front row from the humbling at the hands of New Zealand. Props Simone Ferrari and Pietro Ceccarelli and hooker Hame Faiva all come in for the must-win game.
Niccolo Cannone returns to lock alongside Federico Ruzza, while Pierre Bruno starts on the right wing. Tommaso Allan moves back to fly-half, Paolo Garbisi is back at inside centre and Ange Capuozzo returns to full-back after playing three of his past four tests on the right wing.
France vs Italy lineups
France XV: Thomas Ramos, Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Matthieu Jalibert, Maxime Lucu; Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon (captain), Anthony Jelonch, Thibaud Flament, Cameron Woki, Uini Atonio, Peato Mauvaka, Cyril Baille
Replacements: Pierre Bourgarit, Reda Wardi, Dorian Aldegheri, Romain Taofifenua, Francois Cros, Baptiste Couilloud, Yoram Moefana, Melvyn Jaminet
Italy XV: Ange Capuozzo, Pierre Bruno, Juan Ignacio Brex, Paolo Garbisi, Montanna Ioane, Tommaso Allan, Stephen Varney; Lorenzo Cannone, Michele Lamaro (captain), Sebastian Negri, Federico Ruzza, Niccolo Cannone, Pietro Ceccarelli, Hame Faiva, Simone Ferrari
Replacements: Marco Manfredi, Federico Zani, Marco Riccioni, David Sisi, Manuel Zuliani, Alessandro Fusco, Luca Morisi, Lorenzo Pani
France vs Italy referee
The referee for Friday’s game will be England’s Karl Dickson, supported by assistants Luke Pearce and Craig Evans plus TMO Marius Jonker.
France vs Italy prediction
Italy’s bonus-point wins over Namibia and Uruguay mean they go into this final Pool A clash still able to reach the quarter-finals for the first time despite that mauling by the All Blacks in Lyon in which they shipped no fewer than 14 total tries.
But that performance against New Zealand was such an abject humiliation that it is hard to see the Azzurri rousing themselves for a proper crack at an unlikely upset here. They need just a point of any kind to guarantee their spot at the 2027 World Cup in Australia.
France will be missing Dupont and are still facing a nervous wait to discover if he will be back for the quarter-finals, but they still have more than enough quality to secure another handsome win to cement top spot in Pool A with South Africa looming large.
France to win with a bonus point.
Head to head (h2h) history and results
These two are obviously familiar opponents and clash every year in the Six Nations.
France have won all of the last 13 meetings between the nations, including a 29-24 success in Rome back in February, when the defending Grand Slam champions were pushed hard at the Stadio Olimpico.
Italy have not beaten Les Bleus since a 23-18 home success at the 2013 Six Nations. That was their second home win over France in a row, having also edged them out by one point in Rome in 2011.
Italy’s only other win over France to date came all the way back in 1997.
France wins: 44
Italy wins: 3
France vs Italy latest odds
France to win: 1/80
Italy to win: 33/1
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).