Rugby: Italy boss looks to stun France again in 6N opener

Brunel sticks with men who impressed in autumn tests

Rugby: Italy boss looks to stun France again in 6N opener

Rome, January 10 - Italy notched their first Six Nations victory over France the last time Les Bleus visited Rome and Azzurri coach Jacques Brunel is optimistic his men can repeat the feat in their opening game of the 2013 tournament next month. "We hope to do the same thing as two years ago, we hope to start with the same result," Brunel told a news conference on Thursday referring to the historic 22-21 win Italy achieved under his predecessor Nick Mallet in 2011. Confidence is high in the Azzurri camp after a positive November test series. They secured a 28-23 win over Tonga, caused the All Blacks lots of problems for three-quarters of a 42-10 defeat in Rome - a scoreline that flattered the world champions - and gave Australia a huge scare before going down 22-19 in Florence. "Our ambition is to stay at the same level of play shown in the November tests. "I think we're on the right road. The team have gained confidence and we can still improve because we still haven't played a complete match, we haven't yet maintained the same level of play throughout a match". Brunel was speaking after naming his preliminary squad for the Six Nations of 30 men, 27 of whom took part in the autumn tests. Treviso flanker Paul Derbyshire, who has not yet been used since Brunel took over after the 2011 World Cup, is back in the squad after a series of injuries. Zebre centre Gonzalo Canale returns after a long absence, along with his teammate in the franchise run by the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR), in-form fullback Paolo Buso, who won his only previous cap five years ago. The most high-profile absentees are brothers Mauro and Mirco Bergamasco. Winger Mirco looks set to miss the Six Nations with a knee injury. Flanker Mauro is fit and therefore looks to have been dropped. Italy start their campaign against 2011 World Cup finalists France at Rome's Stadio Olimpico on February 3 before visiting Scotland, the side they regularly battle against to avoid coming last, the week after. They take on Wales at home on February 23, face England at Twickenham on March 10 and finish their campaign back in Rome on March 16 against Ireland. Italy squad. Props: Martin Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers, 91 caps), Lorenzo Cittadini (Benetton Treviso, 16 caps), Alberto De Marchi (Benetton Treviso, 4 caps), Andrea Lo Cicero (Racing-Metro Paris, 98 caps), Michele Rizzo (Benetton Treviso, 5 caps). Hookers: Leonardo Ghiraldini (Benetton Treviso, 48 caps), Davide Giazzon (Zebre Rugby, 5 caps). Locks: Joshua Furno (Narbonne, 6 caps), Quintin Geldenhuys (Zebre Rugby, 33 caps), Francesco Minto (Benetton Treviso, 2 caps), Antonio Pavanello (Benetton Treviso, 13 caps). Loose forwards: Robert Barbieri (Benetton Treviso, 27 caps), Paul Edward Derbyshire (Benetton Treviso, 16 caps), Simone Favaro (Benetton Treviso, 16 caps), Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais, 91 caps, captain), Ratu Manoa Seru Vosawai (Benetton Treviso, 10 caps), Alessandro Zanni (Benetton Treviso, 69 caps). Scrumhalves: Tobias Botes (Benetton Treviso, 8 Caps), Edoardo Gori (Benetton Treviso, 19 caps). Flayhalves: Kristopher Burton (Benetton Treviso, 18 caps), Luciano Orquera (Zebre Rugby, 29 caps). Centres/wings/fullbacks: Tommaso Benvenuti (Benetton Treviso, 23 Caps), Paolo Buso (Zebre Rugby, 1 cap), Gonzalo Canale (La Rochelle, 77 caps), Gonzalo Garcia (Zebre Rugby, 25 caps), Tommaso Iannone (Benetton Treviso, 1 Cap), Andrea Masi (London Wasps, 72 caps), Luke Mclean (Benetton Treviso, 41 caps), Alberto Sgarbi (Benetton Treviso, 23 caps), Giovanbattista Venditti (Zebre Rugby, 9 caps).

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