4 players to debut for injury-hit Italy in 6 Nations opener
ROME (AP) Italy coach Jacques Brunel has named four uncapped players in a team depleted by injuries to face France in the Six Nations opener.
Mogliano back David Odiete, Padova wing Mattia Bellini, Zebre prop Andrea Lovotti and Benetton Treviso hooker Ornel Gega will all make their debuts on Saturday at the Stade de France.
Italy has 10 regulars sidelined by injuries, including Andrea Masi, Tommaso Allan, Simone Favaro, Josh Furno, Quintin Geldenhuys, Michele Rizzo, Luca Morisi and Andrea Manici.
However, long-serving No. 8 Sergio Parisse, who had an injury-ravaged Rugby World Cup, is back as captain, and New Zealand-born center Kelly Haimona returns after breaking his arm during Italy's final Six Nations game last year, forcing him to miss the World Cup.