The biggest match on day two of the Rugby World Cup sees Six Nations rivals France and Italy faceoff at Twickenham.

Where to watch

France vs Italy kicks off at 8pm BST on Saturday 19 September. Live coverage is available on ITV HD and BBC Radio Five Live.


A showdown that will go a long way to shaping Pool D and the make-up of the quarter-finals sees France face Italy, as both sides look to put one foot in the knock-out phase. But instead of the build-up to the game being dominated by what is at stake, it is the individuals absent from the Twickenham match who have stolen the headlines

Inspirational captain Sergio Parisse will be missing from the Azzuri front row after having fluid drained from his knee following the warm-up defeat to Wales. The Italian leader is without doubt among the best backrow forwards in world rugby and his absence is a critical blow for Jacques Brunel.

Sergio Parisse
The absence of Sergio Parisse is a major blow for Italy Getty Images

Though France can call on greater resources in each position, they are too without their standout player in the form of centre Wesley Forfana, who has a thigh injury and is potentially being held back for greater challenges in the form of Ireland at the end of the pool stage. Elsewhere the French look imposing, with Louis Picamoles at the base of the scrum alongside skipper Thierry Dusautoir.

If the absence of Parisse was not enough to instil fear into Italian fans, then their record against Les Bleus surely will. France have prevailed in 33 of the pair's 36 meetings stretching back to 1937. Italy have won twice in the last four years, with each narrow victory coming in Rome.

The Italian capital played host to the recent slow death of the Italian team, with France scoring 29 unanswered points, which included just two tries ,as a normally exciting Six Nations championship slowed to a halt. We can only hope the stage of a major tournament and the importance of the game will improve the spectacle.


France: 15. Scott Spedding; 14. Yoann Huget, 13. Mathieu Bastareaud, 12. Alexandre Dumoulin, 11. Noa Nakaitaci; 10. Frederic Michalak, 9. Sebastian Tillous-Borde; 1. Eddy Ben Arous, 2. Guilhem Guirado, 3. Rabah Slimani, 4. Pascal Pape, 5. Yoann Maestri; 6. Thierry Dusautoir; 7. Damien Chouly, 8. Louis Picamoles,

Replacements: 16. Benjamin Kayser, 17. Vincent Debaty, 18. Nicolas Mas, 19. Bernard Le Roux, 20. Alexandre Flanquart, 21. Morgan Parra, 22. Remi Tales, 23. Gael Fickou

Italy: 15.Luke McLean; 14. Leonardo Sarto, 13. Michele Campagnaro, 12. Andrea Masi, 11. Giovanbattista Venditti; 10. Tommaso Allan, 9. Edoardo Gori; 1. Matias Aguero, 2. Leonardo Ghiraldini, 3. Martin Castrogiovanni, 4. Quintin Geldenhuys, 5. Josh Furno, 6. Alessandro Zanni, 7. Francesco Minto, 8. Samuela Vunisa,

Replacements: 16.Andrea Manici, 17. Michele Rizzo, 18. Lorenzo Cittadini, 19. Valerio Bernabo, 20. Simone Favaro, 21. Guglielmo Palazzani, 22. Carlo Canna, 23. Enrico Bacchin

What the coaches say

Philippe Saint Andre: "We are not the favourites. We should take each match one at a time and we should approach them with humility because we have not won the World Cup.

Philippe Saint Andre
Philippe Saint Andre leads France into the World Cup as his final act as head coach Getty Images

"It's just a game of rugby and we should not put too much pressure on the players. There are more people, more spectators, more of everything, but it's just a game of rugby. They need to be ready in their heads, in their guts and in their shoes.

"I have been working for this for four years. We will be much better than in the Six Nations. We have shown it already in the warm-up games. The team is ready – much, much fitter."

Jacques Brunel: "That is my strongest team at this moment. Our objective has been to ensure that this team can play to its very best. You can't win a match without imposing yourself on your opponents and having a strong defence. The defensive side is important, but we need to be able to put teams in difficulty with the ball.

"We have to respond as a squad and the other players have to fulfil their roles, not just the experienced players, but everyone. Our half-backs are young and while they still have to develop, this is a chance to show their quality."

"We got the basic things right [against Wales]. We still have things to look at in attack, but we did well as we scored two tries. Our main weakness in that match was our discipline and that was the main difference and why they won the match."

Other fixtures:

12:00: Tonga v Georgia - Pool C

2:30pm: Ireland v Canada - Pool D

4:45pm: South Africa v Japan - Pool B