Italy welcome back veteran Zanni for Scotland showdown

By Sports Desk February 20, 2020

Alessandro Zanni will start for Italy in Saturday's Six Nations showdown with Scotland in Rome.

The veteran lock was injured in the warm-up prior to the 35-22 defeat to France in Paris on February 9.

Zanni returns in place of Dean Budd for what will be his 119th cap, with Italy otherwise unchanged from the loss to Les Bleus.

"We showed some improvements against France," said head coach Franco Smith. "We want to produce a big performance in front of our fans at the Stadio Olimpico showing everyone our game and our true potential."

Tommaso Allan, who managed three successful kicks against France, will start at fly-half on Saturday.

Italy are seeking their first points of the 2020 tournament, having suffered a chastening 42-0 defeat to Wales in round one.

The Azzurri are, along with Scotland, the only team yet to record a win this year.

Italy: Jayden Hayward, Mattia Bellini, Luca Morisi, Carlo Canna, Matteo Minozzi, Tommaso Allan, Callum Braley; Andrea Lovotti, Luca Bigi (captain), Giosue Zilocchi, Alessandro Zanni, Niccolo Cannone, Jake Polledri, Sebastian Negri, Abraham Steyn.

Replacements: Federico Zani, Danilo Fischetti, Marco Riccioni, Marco Lazzaroni, Dean Budd, Giovanni Licata, Guglielmo Palazzani, Giulio Bisegni.

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  • Rugby world pays tribute to France great Dominici Rugby world pays tribute to France great Dominici

    Former France internationals Serge Betsen, Vincent Clerc and Dimitri Yachvili have paid tribute to Christophe Dominici following the death of their old team-mate.

    Dominici passed away at the age of 48 on Tuesday, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) and the player's former club Stade Francais confirmed, with the cause of his death not yet revealed.

    Toulon-born Dominici, who played at full-back and on the wing, won 67 caps for his country and scored 25 tries.

    Only Clerc (11) has scored more tries for France at a Rugby World Cup than the eight managed by Dominici, who made his debut for Les Bleus against England in 1998.

    Clerc, who played 67 times for France, posted on Twitter: "Thank you Domi for everything you brought to French rugby and all these good times spent with you."

    Betsen earned many of his 63 caps alongside Dominici, and also tweeted: "Very very touched by this terrible and sad news of my playing brother Christophe Dominici. The inspiration and soul of a warrior. I am very sad."

    Dominici won the French title five times during a long, successful club career with capital club Stade, where he was employed as a coach after retiring.

    Former France scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili wrote: "I'm sad. My heart bleeds. You will forever remain an artist, an endearing and elusive man, a legend of our sport. A thought for your family and loved ones. Rest in peace Domi."

    Ex-England star Jonny Wilkinson also offered his condolences.

    "The death of Christophe Dominici is terribly sad. We think of all his relatives. The world of sport has lost a true legend," the World Cup winner posted on Twitter.

    Wilkinson's former England team-mate Jason Robinson added: "Had the privilege of playing against the France rugby legend Christophe Dominici on many occasions. Such sad news to hear of his passing. Thoughts and prayers with his family and friends. RIP."

  • England centre Lawrence not risked for Wales showdown England centre Lawrence not risked for Wales showdown

    Ollie Lawrence will miss England's final Autumn Nations Cup Group A match against Wales due to a hip injury.

    Lawrence started in the victories over Georgia and Ireland, but will play no part at Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

    England defence coach John Mitchell said: "Ollie has a little niggle around his abductor and hip area, nothing major but it is a niggle that is concerning him.

    "Ollie has huge potential as a centre. He is very talented in terms of running onto the ball and he has got exceptional ability to line break."

    Jonathan Joseph or captain Owen Farrell could move into midfield in the absence of Lawrence as the Six Nations champions look to seal top spot.

    Jack Willis has been retained by Eddie Jones in a 25-man squad, while Anthony Watson and Joe Marler will be hoping to make their Test returns.

     

    England squad:

    Backs: Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell (captain), George Ford, Jonathan Joseph, Max Malins, Jonny May, Dan Robson, Henry Slade, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

    Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Jack Willis.

  • Former France international Dominici dies aged 48 Former France international Dominici dies aged 48

    Former France international Christophe Dominici has died at the age of 48.

    The French Rugby Federation (FFR) and Dominici's former club Stade Francais confirmed the Bleus great had passed away on Tuesday, with no cause of death revealed.

    Versatile back Dominici, who operated on the wing or at full-back, won 67 caps for his country and scored 25 tries.

    The Toulon-born Dominici is France's second-highest Rugby World Cup try-scorer with eight, a tally only Vincent Clerc has bettered.

    The FFR tweeted: "The great French rugby family is in mourning after the tragic death of our winger Christophe Dominici, we are thinking especially of his family and loved ones."

    Dominici won the French title five times during a long, successful club career with capital club Stade, where he employed as a coach after retiring.

    The Top 14 club posted on Twitter: "It is with immense sadness and heartbreak that Stade Français Paris learned of the death of Christophe Dominici.

    "Rugby genius and peerless companion, he leaves a great void in our big family. Our thoughts are with his partner and his daughters."

    Governing body World Rugby also paid tribute to Dominici.

    "A legend of @FranceRugby and an all-time great of the game. Rest In Peace, Christophe Dominici," the organisation posted on social media.

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