Saturday 25 November 2017

France won't fall again

FRANCE coach Philippe Saint-Andre is not taking Italy lightly. That is why he delayed naming his side as back rowers Louis Picamoles (thigh) and flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo (ankle) battled the tide of time.

Former captain Thierry Dusautoir had been called up as a possible replacement for Ouedraogo following his fight to recover his best form from a serious knee injury.

Second row Pascal Pape has taken over the armband as Saint-Andre's on-field general for what is certain to be a brutal physical war of body and mind at the Olympic Stadium.

Saint-Andre has been forewarned by what happened here in Rome two years back when the Italians caused a sensation by squeezing France 22-21 at their natural home in Stadio Flaminio.

Surely lightening can't strike twice. France have been too good, too organised, too clinical in Saint-Andre's second season in charge of Les Bleus.

Verdict: France

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