France vs Italy RWC 2015: What time does it start and where can I watch it?

A look ahead to the Pool D clash at Twickenham Stadium

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It's a big game for…

Frederic Michalak: The fly-half is shaping up for his third World Cup, but the questions over his consistency and temperament remain. He beat off competition from Francois Trinh-Duc to make the 31-man cut, and has been given the reins for the opening match against Italy.

Despite having three European winners’ medals to his name in the last three years, the 32-year-old has never convinced that he is the world beater that he once promised. That said, he retains the skill and ability to unlock any defence. The question is can he do it against the biggest teams in Pool D?

Teams…

France: Scott Spedding; Yoann Huget, Mathieu Bastareaud, Alexandre Dumoulin, Noa Nakaitaci; Frederic Michalak, Sebastien Tillous-Borde; Eddy Ben Arous, Guilhem Guirado, Rabah Slimani; Pascal Pape, Yoann Maestri; Thierry Dusautoir, Damien Chouly, Louis Picamoles.

Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Vincent Debaty, Nicolas Mas, Bernard Le Roux, Alexandre Flanquart, Morgan Parra, Remi Tales, Gael Fickou.

Italy: Luke McLean; Leonardo Sarto, Michele Campagnaro, Andrea Masi, Giovanbattista Venditti; Tommaso Allan, Edoardo Gori; Matias Aguero, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Martin Castrogiovanni; Quintin Geldenhays, Josh Furno; Alessandro Zanni, Francesco Minto, Samuel Vunisa.

Replacements: Andrea Manici, Michele Rizzo, Lorenzo Cittadini, Valerio Bernabo, Simone Favaro, Guglielmo Palazzani, Carlo Canna, Enrico Bacchin.

 

Best stat…

2: In 36 meetings between the two sides, Italy have won just two of them. However, both of those victories have come in the past four years, and with Italy’s victories coming in 2011 and 2013 in the Six Nations, they’re due another win to keep the two-year trend alive.

Remember when…

Just months before the 2011 World Cup where France would go on to reach the final, an Italy side led by the inspirational Sergio Parisse recorded the first ever Italian victory over an experienced Les Blues side in the caldron that is the Stadio Flaminio. The incredible scenes at the full time whistle included grown men crying, a jubilant Nick Mallett running on to the pitch and a disconsolate French side wondering what had happened.

 

Player to watch…

Noa Nakaitaci: The Clermont Auvergne wing has certainly made his impact felt in the Top 14, but he also starred in the French side that cost England the Six Nations title at Twickenham earlier this season. A big time player who, when given a yard of space, can use his sheer pace and extraordinary power to burst through opposition defences.

Past three meetings…

Italy 0 France 29 (Maestri, Bastareaud), Six Nations, March 2015.

France 30 (Picamoles, Fofana, Bonneval) Italy 10 (Iannone), Six Nations, February 2014.

Italy 23 (Parisse, Castrogiovanni) France 18 (Picamoles, Fall), Six Nations, February 2013.

Form guide…

France: WLLWW

Italy: LLLLL

Vital information...

Kick-off time: 8pm

TV: Live on ITV, highlights on ITV4.

 

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