February 3, 2017
Italy vs. Wales: 6 Nations Preview
The much awaited RBC 6 Nations Rugby Championships begins on February 4, as Scotland hosts Ireland at BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, Scotland at 14::25pm GMT. The other 6 Nations matches will have England facing France at Twickenham in London at 16:50 GMT and on Sunday February 5, Italy will play Wales at 14:00 GMT.
Last year Italy did not gain a win in the RBS 6 Nations series. With a new head coach, Conor O’Shea has the team moving in the right direction as these beat the Springboks in November and want to disrupt the attack of Wales, which finished second to England in last year’s competition.
Veterans Simone Favaro, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Sergio Parisse, Alessandro Zanni will look to change the team’s 6 Nations fortunes, as they seek to move the team’s culture in the direction that Conor O’Shea has charted.
There are five changes for Italy from the side that beat South Africa last year. In the backline, Edoardo Gori will be at scrumhalf instead of Giorgio Bronzini.
In the forwards, there are few changes with Andrea Lovotti will start ahead of Sami Panico at loosehead. George Biagi will take over at lock from Andries van Schalkwyk. Abraham Steyn and Mata Maxime Mbanda will be the flankers.
Wales coach Rob Howley will look to score as many points as possible with the 6 Nations moving to a bonus point system for this year’s competition.
Wales has made one change in the backline from the team that beat South Africa. Rhys Webb will start at scrumhalf after returning from injury and will link with Dan Biggar.
Four players also may gain their first 6 nations experience. Nicky Smith will start at loosehead and replacements Sam Davies, Cory Hill, and James King may should they enter the match.
Italy: 15 Edoardo Padovani, 14 Giulio Bisegni, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Luke McLean, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse(c), 7 Mata Maxime Mbanda, 6 Abraham Steyn, 5 George Biagi, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Ornel Gega, 1 Andrea Lovotti
Replacements: 16 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 17 Sami Panico, 18 Pietro Ceccarelli, 19 Joshua Furno, 20 Francesco Minto, 21 Giorgio Bronzini, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Michele Campagnaro
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sam Warburton, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Cory Hill, 20 James King, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Jamie Roberts