Perugini returns as prop after suspension

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The Independent Online

The Italy coach, Pierre Berbizier, will start Salvatore Perugini at prop instead of Andrea Lo Cicero for tomorrow's Six Nations opener against France.

Lo Cicero impressed in the autumn Tests, while Perugini served a five-week ban for a headbutting incident against Ulster. But Berbizier has preferred the 28-year-old, who shone in the pack during last year's Six Nations.

Berbizier has named Ramiro Pez as a replacement, and will pair Andrea Scanavacca at half-back with Paul Griffen. The former captain Alessandro Troncon is recalled after two years as a replacement.

Italy (v France, Rome, tomorrow, 1.30pm): R De Marigny (Calvisano); D Dallan (Stade Français), G Canale (Clermont-Auvergne), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Français), A Masi (Biarritz); A Scanavacca (Calvisano), P Griffen (Calvisano); S Perugini (Toulouse), F Ongaro (Saracens), C Nieto (Gloucester), S Dellape (Biarritz), M Bortolami (capt, Gloucester), J Sole (Viadana), Mauro Bergamasco (Stade Français), S Parisse (Stade Français).

Replacements: C Festuccia (Gran Parma), A Lo Cicero (L'Aquila), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester), K Robertson (Viadana); R Pez (Bayonne), A Troncon (Clermont-Auvergne), R Mandelli (Gran Parma).