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France v Italy: Mas wary of an Italian pack which 'excels' ahead of Paris encounter

Nicolas Mas, the France prop, is anticipating a "complicated" scrummaging battle when his side come up against Italy tomorrow in their second RBS 6 Nations match.

The robust Montpellier player was a thorn in the side of England as the French won at home last weekend but does not expect to be able to throw his weight around to the same effect this time.

The 33-year-old starts against Italy in a side showing just three changes after that England win. Dimitri Szarzewski starts at hooker, while Hugo Bonneval will make his debut in place of Maxime Medard on the wing. Yoann Maestri also starts at lock alongside captain Pascal Pape.

They will all be made aware that Italy have never won in Paris, but have seen off the French twice in succession in Rome. Mas has challenged the French to avenge last season's 23-18 defeat, but he is wary of the Italians' strength in the scrum.

"That is one area where they come together extremely well," said Mas. "They have a pack that knows their roles perfectly and they are very good players, including [Martin] Castrogiovanni and [Leonardo] Ghiraldini. They excel in this and their coach likes it too."

That coach is Jacques Brunel. He has made five changes to the starting XV which lost against Wales last weekend, with Tommaso Iannoni replacing Angelo Esposito, Gonzalo Garcia back in the line up following an eight-month absence and Joshua Furno taking the place of Marco Bortolami.

This match will also allow captain Sergio Parisse to equal Andrea Lo Cicero as Italy's most capped player. They will have 103 caps each.

TEAM. France v Italy (Stade de France, Paris, tomorrow, 3pm)

france B Dulin (Castres); Y Huget (Toulouse), M Bastareaud (Toulon), W Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), H Bonneval (Stade Francais); J Plisson (Stade Francais), J-M Doussain (Toulouse); T Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), D Szarzewski (Racing Metro), N Mas (Montpellier), P Pape (Stade Francais, capt), Y Maestri (Toulouse), Y Nyanga (Toulouse), B Le Roux (Racing Metro), L Picamoles (Toulouse)

Substitutes B Kayser (Clermont Auvergne), Y Forestier (Castres), R Slimani (Stade Francais), S Vahaamahina (Perpignan), D Chouly (Clermont Auvergne), M Machenaud (Racing Metro), F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), G Fickou (Toulouse)

italy L McLean (Treviso); T Iannone (Zebre), G Garcia (Zebre), M Campagnaro (Treviso), L Sarto (Zebre); T Allan (Perpignan), E Gori (Treviso); A De Marchi (Treviso), L Ghiraldini (Treviso), M Castrogiovanni (Toulon), Q Geldenhuys (Zebre), J Furno (Biarritz), F Minto (Treviso), M Bergamasco (Zebre), S Parisse (Stade Francais, capt).

Substitutes D Giazzon (Zebre), M Rizzo (Treviso), L Cittadini (Treviso), M Bortolami (Zebre), A Zanni (Treviso), T Botes (Treviso), L Orquera (Zebre), A Esposito (Treviso)

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