Rugby World Cup: France vs Italy lineups – Lucu in for injured Antoine Dupont

Rugby World Cup 2023 hosts France will host a shell-shocked Italy, reeling from conceding 96 points to New Zealand last week, at the OL Stadium in Lyon.

Maxime LUCU – Photo by Icon sport

Italy need a strong response, with the Azzurri still in the hunt for a place in the quarter-finals, while France need a draw with a losing bonus point to secure their place at the top of the group.

France vs Italy lineups and team news

Both teams have picked full-strength sides with both eager for the victory and cautious of the potential threat of the opposition.


The big story for Les Bleus is the loss of the talisman and le petit generale, Antoine Dupont, who broke his jaw mid-way through the second half of their game versus Namibia and will not return until the semi-finals at the earliest. Bordeaux’s Maxime Lucu takes his spot in the starting side while Lyon’s Baptiste Couilloud is promoted to the bench.

The other big news is that 20-year-old Bordeaux winger Louis Bielle-Barrey starts over Gabin Villiere. The returning Danty, Jelonch and Baille and Mauvaka for the injured Marchand are the only other changes from the team that beat New Zealand on opening night.

  1. Cyril Baille
  2. Peato Mauvaka
  3. Uini Atonio
  4. Cameron Woki
  5. Thibaud Flament
  6. Anthony Jelonch
  7. Charles Ollivon
  8. Greg Aldritt
  9. Maxime Lucu
  10. Mathieu Jalibert
  11. Louis Bielle-Barrey
  12. Jonathan Danty
  13. Gael Fickou
  14. Damian Penaud
  15. Thomas Ramos

16.  Pierre Bourgarit, 17. Remi Wardi, 18. Dorian Aldegheri, 19. Romain Taofifenua, 20. Francois Cros, 21. Baptiste Couilloud, 22. Yoram Moefana, 23. Melvyn Jaminet


The Azzurri will be without only hooker Giacomo Nicotera and lock Dino Lamb for their crucial clash tomorrow. The former has been replaced in the starting team by Hame Faiva with Marco Manfredi joining the bench and the latter has been replaced Niccolo Cannone.

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Pierre BRUNO – Photo by Icon sport

Italy have also re-shuffled their backline (again) with Tommaso Allan moving back to fly-half, shifting Garbisi back to inside centre and Ange Capuozzo moves back to fullback. Pierre Bruno comes into start on the right-wing over Lorenzo Pani who is picked on the bench in a 5-3 forwards-backs split.

  1. Simone Ferrari
  2. Hame Faiva
  3. Pietro Ceccarelli
  4. Niccolo Cannonne
  5. Federico Ruzza
  6. Sebastian Negri
  7. Michele Lamaro
  8. Lorenzo Cannone
  9. Stephen Varney
  10. Tommaso Allan
  11. Montanna Ioane
  12. Paolo Garbisi
  13. Juan Ignacio Brex
  14. Pierre Bruno
  15. Ange Capuzzo

16. Marco Manfredi, 17. Federico Zani, 18. Marco Riccioni, 19. David Sisi, 20. Manuel Zuliani, 21. Alessandro Fusco, 22. Luca Morisi, 23. Lorenzo Pani

How much of a drop-off is Dupont to Lucu?

The massive change for France now is adapting to life without their star man, Antoine Dupont, at least until the semi-finals. They have played without key starters already this tournament, Ntamack, Baille, Danty, Marchand but Dupont is just simply another level and Lucu does not have much experience starting in the France ‘A’ team.

The big difference will be that Dupont loves to dominate the ball and make decisions, he will pick up the ball from the ruck and carry until he sees what he wants to do and does it, whether is be pass short, pass long, kick or run. Lucu is the opposite to this, he provides quick ball and rarely makes decisions, this means that fly-half Mathieu Jalibert will have to bare much more responsibility for making decisions and more importantly, making the right decisions. Something that no doubt he will relish and take on with glee.

In conclusion, Lucu is no Dupont, not even close but he is a great player and will do just fine.

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