France vs Italy Prediction: Les Bleus could be pushed in Lille

 | February 24 | 

3 mins read

Rugby Union Generic

France's opening Six Nations defeat to Ireland was followed by a fortunate win in Scotland when they came out on the right side of a final play call from the TMO.

Sunday sees Les Bleus take on Italy, who narrowly lost to England in the opening round before being outclassed by Ireland.

New boss Gonzalo Quesada is still looking to put his stamp on the Azzurri but with rumours rife of unrest among the French players, the visitors could go closer than expected in Lille.

France vs Italy Tips

  • Italy +22.5 @ 13/10
  • Thomas Ramos - Anytime Tryscorer @ 5/4

Match Odds

France are massive favourites at 1/80 to win on Sunday, with the Azzurri 14/1 - while a first-ever tie between the pair is priced at 28/1.

Les Bleus are also highly favoured on the handicap, priced at 10/11 carrying -27.

Team News

France have handed a first start to giant teenage lock Posolo Tuilagi, who replaces Paul Gabrillagues. The other change sees Paul Boudehent come in on the side of the scrum, with Francois Cros switching to number eight in place of the injured Gregory Aldritt.

Aldritt's absence also sees Charles Ollivon named captain.

Italy have also handed a first start to a young forward, with Ross Vintcent (this is how you spell his name) selected at number eight and skipper Michele Lamaro reverting to the openside. Tighthead prop Giosue Zilocchi and hooker Giacomo Nicotera are also promoted from the bench.

Behind the scrum, number 10 Paulo Garbisi has a third half-back partner in as many matches, with Martin Page-Relo named at scrum-half, while Tommaso Menoncello moves to the wing to accommodate Federico Mori's inclusion at inside centre.

Italy have also matched France by selecting a six-two split among their replacements.

Italy +22.5 @ 13/10

France's displays have fuelled speculation of a disconnect between coach Fabien Galthie and his players. Any truth to those rumours will become apparent early on if they again set out without any recognisable pattern on Sunday.

They looked lost against Ireland and got lucky against Scotland. However, it is often better to be lucky than good and they should still have the ability to grab a second win of the Championship.

Even so, Italy only lost by three points to England and can use injuries as an excuse for their mauling in Ireland.

France won 60-7 when the pair met in last year's World Cup but the sides' current form suggests this could be closer to their most recent Six Nations meeting last February, which the French just squeezed through 29-24, making the 5/1 on a home win by 1-12 points another option to consider.

Italy +22.5 vs France at 13-10

Thomas Ramos - Anytime Tryscorer @ 5/4

One of the few French players to have shown any consistency has been full-back Thomas Ramos, whose kicking game, both out of hand and from the tee, helped keep Scotland in sight during the win at Murrayfield.

Ramos has spent much of the season playing at fly-half for Toulouse and that ability to step into the first receiver role and allow number 10 Matthieu Jalibert to move wide and exploit the extra space in the midfield, will be vital if France are to improve.

The 28-year-old also has an eye for the try-line and three of his five international scores have come against the Azzurri.

That haul includes a score in each of the pair's meetings in 2023 and his desire to drag his country through might see him touch down again.

Thomas Ramos Anytime Tryscorer in France v Italy at 5-4

Find more Rugby Union Betting Tips here at Betfred Insights

Share Article

(Visited 256 times, 1 visits today)