Italy coach Pierre Berbizier has put his faith in stand-off Andrea Scanavacca to show he can perform at RBS 6 Nations level.
Berbizier has opted for Scanavacca instead of Ramiro Pez for the crucial fly-half role for Saturday's opener against his homeland France at the Stadio Flaminio.
Scanavacca, now 33, got few opportunities under the previous regimes of first Brad Johnstone and then his fellow New Zealander John Kirwan.
Johnstone fell out with the stand-off during a tour of the south Pacific and since then he has been rarely called on, even though Italy have struggled at that position since the retirement of Diego Dominguez.
Asked why he had preferred Scanavacca to Pez, Berbizier said: 'I want to see Scanavacca play at this level.'
Berbizier raised eyebrows with two more selections with Roland De Marigny picked at full-back instead of Andrea Masi who will play on the wing while Carlos Nieto edged Martin Castrogiovanni to play at prop.
'It's not a surprise that Nieto is starter,' said Berbizier. 'We know how good Castrogiovanni is and it's good that we have two players of such quality.
'The scrum is very important and the game will be won and lost there.'