Italy vs France, Six Nations 2023: Kick-off time, TV channel, where to watch, team news, lineups, odds today
France will begin the defence of their Six Nations crown against Italy today to round off a huge first weekend of action.
Les Bleus swept all before them last year for the first time in 12 years and eased past England to clinch glory in Paris on the final day.
Antoine Dupont and Co will have designs on repeating that feat seven months out from a home World Cup, though injuries and a relentless schedule have led to some doubts creeping in, with defeats of Australia and South Africa in the autumn both very close-run affairs indeed.
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They were also in Japan over the summer while main rivals Ireland were busy making history by winning an away series against the All Blacks for the very first time.
But France should surely get off to a strong start here against Italy, who most are backing to collect yet another wooden spoon despite clear improvements and a couple of massive results in 2022.
Debate over the Azzurri’s place in the competition was silenced when they stunned Wales 22-21 in Cardiff last March, ending a 36-match Six Nations losing streak in the process.
Kieran Crowley’s side later fell to Georgia over the summer but responded by demolishing Samoa and defeating Australia for the very first time in the autumn before being thrashed by South Africa.
Italy vs France date, kick-off time and venue
Italy vs France is the final match to take place during round one of the 2023 Six Nations, after Wales vs Ireland and England vs Scotland on Saturday.
The game takes place at 3pm GMT on Sunday February 5, hosted by the famous Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
How to watch Italy vs France
TV channel: In the UK, Italy vs France is being broadcast live and free-to-air on ITV1, with coverage beginning at 2:15pm.
Live stream: Rugby fans can also watch the action live online via the ITVX app or ITV website.
Italy vs France team news
France will be without centre Jonathan Danty for the entire Six Nations due to a knee injury, while influential forward Cameron Woki is also missing with a hand fracture.
Gabin Villiere, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Peato Mauvaka, Pierre Bourgarit, Maxime Lucu, Arthur Vincent, Killian Geraci and Florian Verhaeghe are among the other absentees.
Lock Paul Willemse is back fit after injury, while Lyon’s Ethan Dumortier makes his debut in place of Villiere on the wing.
Thomas Ramos is preferred to Melvyn Jaminet at full-back, with Jaminet not even among the replacements on Sunday.
There were eight uncapped players in coach Fabien Galthie’s original training squad, with Dumortier joined by Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Emilien Gailleton, Paul Boudehent, Romain Buros and Julien Delbouis, plus scrum-halves Leo Coly and Nolann Le Garrec. The latter will back-up Dupont this weekend with Lucu out.
For Italy, key fly-half Paolo Garbisi could return ahead of schedule after a knee injury that has kept him out since early December, but Harlequins’ Tommaso Allan starts here. Monty Ioane, Toa Halafihi, Gianmarco Lucchesi, Leonardo Marin and David Sisi are all injured.
Matteo Nocera, Luca Rizzoli, Mirco Spagnolo and Marco Manfredi are all uncapped players called up by Crowley, while Gloucester flanker Jake Polledri is hoping to earn his first caps since 2020, though isn’t in the squad this weekend.
Italy vs France lineups
Italy XV: Capuozzo; Bruno, Brex, Morisi, Menoncello; Allan, Varney; Fischetti, Nicotera, Ferrari; N Cannone, Ruzza; Negri, Lamaro (c), L Cannone
Replacements: Bigi, Zani, Ceccarelli, Iachizzi, Pettinelli, Zuliani, Fusco, Padovani
France XV: Ramos; Penaud, Fickou, Moefana, Dumortier; Ntamack, Dupont (c); Baille, Marchand, Atonio; Flament, Willemse; Jelonch, Ollivon, Alldritt
Replacements: Barlot, Wardi, Falatea, Taofifenua, Lavault, Macalou, Le Garrec, Jalibert
Italy vs France head to head (h2h) history and results
Italy have only won three of their previous 46 meetings with France - in the 1995–1997 FIRA Trophy and then winning again twice in three years in the Six Nations in 2011 and 2013.
France have won all of the last 12 matches, including a 50-10 romp on their last trip to Rome in 2021 and last year’s 37-10 victory in Paris that featured a stylish Villiere hat-trick.
Italy wins: 3
France wins: 43
Italy vs France prediction
Italy are finally making strides and now boast a litany of dangerous attacking threats led by the French-born Toulouse star Ange Capuozzo.
The wins over Wales and Australia in 2022 will have greatly boosted confidence among the Azzurri ranks and they will now have their sights firmly set on causing other momentous upsets.
However, their 63-21 drubbing by the Springboks in November and an historic loss in Georgia were clear signs that more progress still needs to be made.
An opening tie against the French is an incredibly difficult first assignment and Italy would do well just to keep things respectable as Les Bleus look to start their title defence on a strong note.
France to win, by 21 points.
Italy vs France odds
Italy to win: 14/1
France to win: 1/25
Odds via Betfair (subject to change).