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.

Gael Fickou moves to the wing and the fit-again Virimi Vakatawa is back in France's starting line-up for the Six Nations battle with Wales on Saturday.

Vakatawa was ruled out of the victory over Italy with a triceps injury but will make a centre pairing with Arthur Vincent at the Principality Stadium.

Fickou shifts out wide from midfield with Vincent Rattez (broken fibula) and Damian Penaud (calf) on the sidelines.

They are the only changes made to the starting line-up by Fabien Galthie as Les Bleus attempt to make it three wins out of three in Cardiff.

Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack have shaken off niggles to start for a France side that are joint-top with Ireland.

Prop Jean-Baptiste Gros and flanker Dylan Cretin are set to make their debuts off the bench against the defending champions, with Jefferson Poirot and Cameron Woki overlooked.

 

France: Anthony Bouthier, Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Arthur Vincent, Gael Fickou, Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Mohamed Haouas, Bernard Le Roux, Paul Willemse, Francois Cros, Charles Ollivon (captain) Gregory Alldritt.

Replacements: Camille Chat, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Demba Bamba, Romain Taofifenua, Dylan Cretin, Baptiste Serin, Matthieu Jalibert, Thomas Ramos.

 

Gareth Davies and Ross Moriarty have been restored to the Wales starting line-up for the Six Nations encounter with France on Saturday.

Scrum-half Davies is preferred to Tomos Williams, while back-row Moriarty gets the nod over Aaron Wainwright for a mouth-watering battle at the Principality Stadium.

Clinical wing Josh Adams and fly-half Dan Biggar have been passed fit after recovering from hip and head injuries respectively.

Lock Will Rowlands is poised to make his debut off the bench in Cardiff, while Williams and Wainwright have also been named among the replacements by Wayne Pivac.

Defending champions Wales will be looking to consign France to a first defeat of the tournament and respond to a defeat against Ireland that dashed their hopes of winning back-to-back Grand Slams.

 

Wales: Leigh Halfpenny, George North, Nick Tompkins, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Dan Biggar, Gareth Davies; Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Dillon Lewis, Jake Ball, Alun Wyn Jones (captain, Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Taulupe Faletau.

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Rob Evans, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Aaron Wainwright, Tomos Williams, Jarrod Evans, Johnny McNicholl.

Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade are on course to be fit for England's crunch Six Nations showdown with Ireland at Twickenham on Sunday.

Tuilagi suffered a groin injury early in England's defeat to France on the opening weekend of the tournament, while Slade has been out since sustaining an ankle injury in December.

The centres trained with the Rugby World Cup runners-up on Wednesday and could face joint-leaders Ireland this weekend.

England head coach Eddie Jones said: "Manu trained fully so should be in contention for selection. It's good to have a quality player back.

"Slade also trained so we have just got to monitor his progress. He has a positive chance. He's a quality player. This gives us more options."

One player who will play no part is prop Mako Vunipola, who flew to Tonga and is not available for "family reasons".

Jones says England are well stocked to cover for the absence of the British and Irish Lion, with Joe Marler and Ellis Genge vying for a start.

The Australian said: "Mako's a quality player but we are lucky we are blessed with two outstanding loosehead props in Joe and Ellis, so we can recover the loss of Mako.

"But it's disappointing to lose him."

Genge scored the winning try in a battling 13-6 defeat of Scotland before the rest weekend. 

Andy Farrell has named an unchanged side for Ireland's mouthwatering Six Nations clash with England at Twickenham on Sunday.

Fit-again back-row Caelan Doris replaces Max Deegan on the bench in the only alteration to the 23 following the victory over Wales.

Robbie Henshaw was withdrawn just five minutes into the second half of the 24-14 win over the defending champions last time out, but the centre has been passed fit to start alongside Bundee Aki.

CJ Stander remains at number eight after another man-of-the-match display against the holders, with blindside flanker Peter O'Mahony retaining his starting berth and Doris - who suffered a head injury on his debut versus Scotland - among the replacements.

Ireland are joint-top of the table with France after winning their first two games and will be out for revenge after losing to Eddie Jones' side twice last year.

 

Ireland: Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway, Robbie Henshaw, Bundee Aki, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny Sexton (captain), Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rob Herring, Tadhg Furlong, Iain Henderson, James Ryan, Peter O’Mahony, Josh van der Flier, CJ Stander.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Dave Kilcoyne, Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Caelan Doris, John Cooney, Ross Byrne, Keith Earls.

 

 

Gregor Townsend has brought in centre Chris Harris in place of Huw Jones as one of three changes to his team for Scotland's Six Nations match in Italy.

Scotland travel to Rome on Saturday with both teams looking for their first win of this year's competition.

Gloucester's Harris partners Sam Johnson at centre for his first start of the campaign, with Jones dropping out of the matchday 23.

In Scotland's other alterations, Edinburgh forwards Stuart McInally and Ben Toolis come into the team in place of Fraser Brown, who drops to the bench, and the injured Jonny Gray. 

"We believe Chris and Stuart deserve this opportunity," said Townsend. 

"They were very close to the starting XV when we entered this campaign. We think this is the right time for them to come in.

"Chris has been excellent for Gloucester this season and has continued to make improvements since the summer. He works very hard on both sides of the ball, which will be important this week.

"Stuart has shown over the past few weeks he's back to full fitness and is raring to go, and Ben gets an opportunity to start following Jonny's injury against England.

"Second-row is a position we have a lot of competition [in], with a number of very good players available for selection. 

"We are looking forward to seeing how he combines again with Scott [Cummings] after a successful outing together against Russia in the World Cup."

Flanker Matt Fagerson, who was added to the Scotland squad earlier this week, is a new name among the replacements, as are WP Nel, Grant Gilchrist and Byron McGuigan.

There is still no place for fly-half Finn Russell, due to his dispute with Scotland's management in the wake of a breach of team protocol ahead of the tournament.


Scotland: Stuart Hogg (captain), Sean Maitland, Chris Harris, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn, Adam Hastings, Ali Price; Rory Sutherland, Stuart McInally, Zander Fagerson, Ben Toolis, Scott Cummings, Jamie Ritchie, Hamish Watson, Magnus Bradbury.

Replacements: Fraser Brown, Allan Dell, WP Nel, Grant Gilchrist, Matt Fagerson, George Horne, Rory Hutchinson, Byron McGuigan.    

Jordan Petaia will miss the rest of the Super Rugby season with a shoulder injury.

The 19-year-old requires surgery after dislocating his shoulder during training in Argentina last week.

Petaia, who missed the Reds' 43-27 defeat to the Jaguares last Saturday, had scans on the injury on his return to Brisbane on Monday.

The Reds have now confirmed the wing will be sidelined for 20 weeks, ruling him out of the remainder of the season and making him a doubt for Australia's two Test matches with Ireland in July.

Petaia played only the first two rounds of the Super Rugby season last year before a foot injury left him out of action.

He battled back to fitness in time for the Rugby World Cup in Japan, where he scored a try on his Test debut in the 45-10 defeat of Uruguay in Oita.

The Reds have lost all three of their Super Rugby matches in 2020.

Hurricanes wing Ben Lam will leave the Super Rugby side to join Top 14 club Bordeaux-Begles at the end of the season.

Former New Zealand Sevens star Lam will arrive at Bordeaux – who currently lead the Top 14 – as a replacement for Fiji international Semi Radradra, who will join the Bristol Bears for the 2020-21 campaign.

The 28-year-old Lam, who played for the All Blacks' Sevens team between 2012 and 2016, joined the Hurricanes from fellow Super Rugby side Blues in 2017.

He has been a regular for the Hurricanes but his form has not propelled him into the All Blacks squad.

Lam scored 54 tries in 84 games during his international sevens career and has signed a two-year deal with Bordeaux, the French club announced.

Wales boss Wayne Pivac has summoned Hallam Amos into his squad ahead of Saturday's Six Nations showdown with France.

The full-back, who also has experience of playing on the wing, comes in after recovering from an ankle injury.

That setback had kept Amos out of Pivac's initial plans, but he could now step up to play an important role over the remaining three matches.

The 25-year-old former Dragons star is looking to add to his 22 caps for Wales and takes the place of Cardiff Blues team-mate Owen Lane, who dropped out after suffering a hamstring blow.

Amos proved his fitness in Cardiff's Pro14 match against Connacht on Saturday, playing on the left wing in the Blues' 29-0 defeat.

Wales will look to return to winning ways after their 24-14 defeat to Ireland last time out, but in France they face a side who have started their campaign with purpose.

Les Bleus will be chasing a third successive victory, having already overcome England and Italy at the Stade de France.

A first away match for France promises to be their biggest test yet, with Wales having won their last three encounters, including a 20-19 success in their World Cup quarter-final in October.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young is to leave the Premiership club after a nine-year reign, saying it is "the right time" to move on.

Young last week stepped back from first-team duties in a surprise move that saw Lee Blackett become the Premiership club's interim head coach.

The end of an era for Wasps was confirmed on Tuesday when Young's departure was confirmed by the club.

Former Wales and Lions prop Young joined Wasps in 2011 from Welsh region Cardiff Blues, and his son Thomas is part of the current squad.

Young, who has been linked with the Ospreys, said: "It will be tough to leave a club and group of people that has meant so much to me over the past decade, but I feel this is the right time for both the club and for myself."

He added: "Wasps has been a huge part of my life and I wish everyone at the club the best of luck for the future."

The 52-year-old led the Coventry-based team to the Premiership final in 2017, when they topped the regular-season standings but suffered an agonising 23-20 defeat after extra-time against Exeter Chiefs in the final at Twickenham.

They finished third in 2016 and 2018 but were eighth last season and sit 10th this term.

England prop Mako Vunipola will miss the crunch Six Nations clash with Ireland at Twickenham on Sunday for family reasons.

Vunipola made his first appearance of the tournament in the victory over Scotland but will not face Ireland after travelling to Tonga.

Ellis Genge could be handed a start after scoring the winning try in the Calcutta Cup clash at Murrayfield. Alternatively, Joe Marler could come back into the side, with the uncapped Beno Obano offering another option.

Fit-again centres Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade were among the 33 names included by Eddie Jones for England's first home match of the tournament.

The Rugby World Cup runners-up were beaten by France in their opening match before edging out Scotland in brutal conditions in Edinburgh, while Ireland have won two out of two.

 

England squad:

Forwards: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Beno Obano, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Harry Williams.
    
Backs: Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, George Ford, George Furbank, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Henry Slade, Ollie Thorley, Manu Tuilagi, Jacob Umaga, Ben Youngs.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton became the first joint-winners of the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year on Monday.

Messi and Hamilton were level on votes made by former sports legends who are members of the Laureus Academy.

Argentina international Messi inspired Barca to a 26th LaLiga title last season with 36 goals in 34 appearances, form that earned him a record sixth Ballon d'Or.

Mercedes driver Hamilton was crowned F1 world champion for the sixth time in 2019, putting him second only to Michael Schumacher on the all-time list.

Hamilton was in Berlin to collect his award in person, while Messi – the first individual from a team sport to claim the prize – sent a video message.

"I would like to thank the Academy for giving me this recognition. The truth is that this is a very important and special award," said Messi.

"I am honoured to be the first to win this award being a sportsperson coming from a team sport and not an individual sport, which is usually the case. Thank you very much.

"For me it's a huge delight to be part of this award and the first team player to receive it. Of course, I would like to thank my team-mates, my family and the fans who support me. Thanks to them this kind of individual recognition is possible."

The pair collected more votes than fellow contenders Rafael Nadal, Marc Marquez, Tiger Woods and Eliud Kipchoge. 

Gymnast Simone Biles was named Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year having become the most decorated gymnast in world championship history and helped the United States to a fifth team title.

Cross-country skier Oksana Masters was handed the World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award.

South Africa men's rugby union side, who won the World Cup in 2019, were selected as the team of the year.

The other major winners were cyclist Egan Bernal (breakthrough), racing driver Sophia Florsch (comeback) and basketball player Dirk Nowitzki (lifetime achievement award).

Olivier Klemenczak's last-gasp try snatched a 30-27 victory over Toulouse to move Racing 92 up to third and Castres beat bottom side Agen in the Top 14 on Sunday.

Racing's winning run in the league looked set to end at four matches until Klemenczak nipped in on the blindside to touch down and deny Toulouse with the clock two minutes into the red at Paris La Defense Arena.

Toulouse were pegged back at 17-17 on the stroke of half-time after Dorian Laborde went over, with Fabien Sanconnie also crossing for the capital club either side of scores from Pita Ahki and Lucas Tauzin.

Maxime Machenaud's second penalty of the match put Racing in front, but Sofiane Guitoune finished to put Toulouse ahead again and Cheslin Kolbe took his tally from the tee to 10 points to give them a seven-point advantage.

Racing were not finished yet, though and Teddy Iribaren was on target with a penalty before Klemenczak settled it after Iosefa Tekori was sent to the sin bin with Toulouse under huge pressure right at the end. 

Castres are up to 10th after seeing off Agen 43-24, Martin Leveau scoring two of five tries for the 2018 champions.

Bristol Bears scored two tries in as many minutes to come from behind and defeat Northampton Saints 20-14 at Franklin's Gardens on Sunday.

Northampton's second-half collapse meant they had to settle for a losing bonus point that left them four adrift of Premiership leaders Exeter Chiefs, while Bristol moved up to fourth.

Rory Hutchinson sent the ball out to the right for Saints full-back Harry Mallinder to dive over in the corner eight minutes into his return from 15 months out with a knee injury.

James Grayson failed to add the extras but had a trio of penalties by the 43rd minute, the first of which came after Harry Randall was on the receiving end of a huge hit of Cobus Reinach and failed to release the ball.

Hutchinson was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Joe Joyce and Callum Sheedy got Bristol on the board from the resulting penalty in the 50th minute.

Replacement wing Henry Purdy touched down after Piers O'Conor surged through a gap in the defence after the hour mark and Bristol were soon ahead.

Some excellent work from Sheedy preceded Lewis Thiede touching down from close range in the 63rd minute, with Ian Madigan slotting through a penalty after the buzzer.

Sam Skinner and Matt Fagerson have been added to Scotland's Six Nations squad for the rest of the tournament.

Exeter Chiefs second row Skinner and Glasgow Warriors back row Fagerson were not included in Gregor Townsend's initial squad due to hamstring and rib injuries respectively.

The duo have proved their fitness in impressing showings for their clubs and are in contention to face Italy at the Stadio Olimpico next Saturday.

Skinner missed the Rugby World Cup due to his injury setback, having last featured for his country in a victory over France last August, while 21-year-old Fagerson has not played for Scotland since a hammering of Georgia almost six months ago.

Gloucester second-rower Alex Craig has been released from the squad.

Scotland will be expected to claim a first victory of the tournament in Rome following defeats to Ireland and England. 

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