Les bleus have history on their side
After a last-gasp victory in their first 2014 Six Nations match versus England last week, the French fans will be hoping that their team can record a more comfortable victory this time out against Italy.
However, on two of the last three meetings between the two teams in this competition, Italy have run out winners, both times in Rome.
If Italy are to start challenging for the Six Nations title in the coming years, however, they are going to have to start winning games away from the comfort of their home crowd; the Azzurri have not won an away Six Nations game since 2007.
This damning statistic could be enough to make anyone think that a home victory would be inevitable, but Italy ran reigning champions Wales close in their first match last week in Cardiff.
If Italy can build on this performance, they could cause France trouble. The French team looked to falter after a strong start against England, with only a late rally bringing home a victory.
History in this fixture, however, is most definitely on France’s side. Of the seven games played in Paris between the two since Italy joined the Six Nations in 2000, France have finished winners every time, with the smallest margin of victory being eleven points.
This domination is reflected in France’s price of 1/25, with an Italian win at 12/1 and the draw 33/1.
France Team News –
France’s forwards dominated the scrum last time out against England, forcing costly penalties and mistakes. However, they made mistakes at the line-out, which will need to be addressed.
Dimitri Szarzewski will replace Benjamin Kayser at hooker, while Yoann Maestri will come in for Alexandre Flanquart in the second row.
The backs managed to advance up the field against the English, but they often failed to make the most of the wide space.
In an effort to fix this, Hugo Bonneval will come into the team and make his debut at winger, with France hoping that his speed will create some chances for Les Bleus. Bonneval has been in outstanding form for his club side Stade Francais.
Italy Team News
Italy have made five changes to the starting fifteen that pushed Wales close last weekend, a match in which they gave away fourteen penalties.
Coach Jacques Brunel makes the changes attempting to freshen things up, with three changes to the forwards; Alberto De Marchi takes over at loosehead prop from Michele Rizzo, Francesco Minto