Crowley: France pose 'big challenge' for Italy star Capuozzo 

He is the danger man in an Italy XV announced on Friday which is hoping for another surprise scalp following recent successes.
Crowley: France pose 'big challenge' for Italy star Capuozzo 

LIVEWIRE: Italy’s Ange Capuozzo celebrates. ©INPHO/Giuseppe Fama

Ange Capuozzo faces a "big challenge" in Italy's Six Nations opener against defending champions France after bursting onto the Test scene last year, coach Kieran Crowley said Friday.

The 23-year-old France-born full-back will face several of his Toulouse teammates at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Sunday.

He is the danger man in an Italy XV announced on Friday which is hoping for another surprise scalp following recent successes.

Capuozzo scored two tries in his senior Test debut against Scotland last March.

His most noteworthy display, though, came against Wales in Cardiff on the final day of the Six Nations.

His individual brilliance inspired Italy to a 22-21 victory ending their 36-match Six Nations losing streak.

He then scored two of Italy's three tries in their first ever win over Australia, a single-point triumph in Florence in November.

"He has a big challenge this Six Nations, let's not hide from it," said Crowley.

"He burst onto the scene last year and he has continued that form with Toulouse and now for this week the French players know him.

"But he works hard at his game, he's developing his game even further I think... Hopefully it's an opportunity for us to show how good he is. That will be great if he can."

Paolo Garbisi misses out at fly-half as the Montpellier man continues his recovery from a knee injury suffered at the start of the year.

Garbisi, 22, had been named at the weekend in the 30-man squad for Italy's first two matches with France and England but was left out for the clash with Les Bleus, who are Crowley's pick for this year's World Cup.

"We hope we can be competitive with them, because let's face it they are probably the World Cup favourites," said Crowley.

"(What we want) is that we can be competitive with them, stay in the game, that we are able to put our game on the paddock and play the way we want to play. If that is good enough to win the game that is great.

"If it's not good enough to win the game but we have performed to those expectations then that is great too."

Harlequin's Tommaso Allan lines up in the half-backs in Garbisi's place, alongside Gloucester scrum-half Stephen Varney.

Benetton Treviso winger Tommaso Menoncello starts on the left for the first time since the Azzurri's summer tour last year, with Zebre's Pierre Bruno at right wing after his positive performances in the Autumn Series Tests.

Italy: A Capuozzo; P Bruno, J Ignacio Brex, L Morisi, T Menoncello; T Allan, S Varney; D Fischetti, G Nicotera, S Ferrari; N Cannone, F Ruzza; S Negri, M Lamaro - captain, L Cannone.

Replacements: L Bigi, F Zani, P Ceccarelli, E Iachizzi, G Pettinelli, M Zuliani, A Fusco, E Padovani.

France: T Ramos; D Penaud, Y Moefana, G Fickou, E Dumortier; R Ntamack, A Dupont - captain; C Baille, J Marchand, U Atonio; T Flament, P Willemse; A Jelonch, C Ollivon, G Alldritt.

Gregory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon, Anthony Jelonch; Paul Willemse, Thibaud Flament; Uini Atonio, Julien Marchand, Cyril Baille

Replacements: G Barlot, R Wardi, S Falatea, R Taofifenua, T Lavault, S Macalou, N Le Garrec, M Jalibert.

© Agence France-Presse

More in this section

Sport Push Notifications

By clicking on 'Sign Up' you will be the first to know about our latest and best sporting content on this browser.

Sign Up

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Cookie Policy Privacy Policy FAQ Help Contact Us Terms and Conditions

© Irish Examiner Ltd