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Two sides, France and Italy, who are used to facing each other on a regular basis in the 6-Nations tournament, go head to head in their Rugby World Cup Pool D opener at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday Evening. Although Ireland and France are the clear favourites to progress from the Pool, it is Italy who are most likely to upset that expectation.
When they finished fourth in the 2015 6-Nations tournament, France were not being given much hope of making an impression on the World Cup. However, the performance of the team, and the forward pack in particular, in the two warm up matches against England, was impressive, and Les Bleus are being seen as a potential finalist. That however, may well depend on them winning the Pool, as the runners-up are likely to face a quarter final against the All Blacks, and a potential semi-final against South Africa.
The Italians have competed at all seven World Cups, but have yet to make it out of a qualifying Pool. On form, they appear destined to match their efforts of 2011 in New Zealand, when they beat the two minnows in their Pool, but finished third after losses to Ireland and Australia, This time round they will expect to register wins against Canada and Romania, but will probably find Ireland and France too good for them.
, Rugby World Cup
, Twickenham Stadium