Teddy Thomas scores his second try

Italy 10-50 France: Six Nations match report, scorers, highlights & reaction


France scored seven tries to start their Guinness Six Nations campaign with a comprehensive 50-10 victory over Italy in Rome.

Italy 10-50 France

Italy tries: Sperandio
Italy conversions: Garbisi
Italy penalties: Garbisi

France tries: Cretin, Fickou, Vincent, Dulin, Dupont, Thomas (2)
France conversion: Jalibert (6)
France penalties: Jalibert (2)

Match report

France scored seven tries to start their Guinness Six Nations campaign with a comprehensive 50-10 victory over Italy in Rome.

Dylan Cretin, Gael Fickou, Arthur Vincent, Brice Dulin and Antoine Dupont crossed for Les Bleus before Teddy Thomas claimed a second-half double.

Outside-half Matthieu Jalibert kicked 15 points as Italy suffered a 28th consecutive Six Nations defeat.

The Azzurri managed a late consolation try from Luca Sperandio, with Paolo Garbisi adding a conversion to his first-half penalty.

France opened the scoring in the seventh minute when Thomas’ elusive running set up an attack which ended with flanker Cretin driving over for his first Test try.

Jalibert added the conversion and then kicked a 35-metre penalty to give France a 10-0 lead after 11 minutes.

Italy were adventurous in possession and built up a head of steam for Garbisi to reduce the deficit with a 20-metre penalty.

But the Azzurri’s naivety was twice exposed by scrum-half Dupont, the player of the 2020 Six Nations tournament.

Dupont’s clever 27th-minute chip allowed Fickou to claim the simplest of scores and Jalibert added the extras.

Three minutes later Dupont hacked on a loose ball and the bounce favoured winger Gabin Villiere to collect.

Dupont was on Villiere’s shoulder to collect and he produced a superb pass under pressure to send Vincent over, with Jalibert converting again for a 24-3 lead.

Italy were given hope when Monty Ioane scampered over from Stephen Varney’s blindside break but the try was disallowed, with the scrum-half’s pass to the winger adjudged to be forward.

France claimed the bonus-point try in the 49th minute when Villiere kicked ahead for full-back Dulin to collect and Jalibert landed the touchline conversion.

Italy were slipping badly off tackles as tiredness took its toll and Thomas burst clear to find Dupont on his inside and he ran through unopposed.

Dupont returned the favour to set up Thomas two minutes later and Jalibert added a sixth conversion before Italy wing Sperandio broke down the right to give the Azzurri some cheer.

But Thomas had the final word seven minutes from time, shaking off a couple of defenders to score in the corner and bring up the half-century of points.

Reaction

France captain Charles Ollivon was delighted that their “serious” approach against Italy paid off with a handsome opening Guinness Six Nations victory.

Les Bleus made a strong statement by running in seven tries and coasting to a 50-10 win at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

“We repeated it all week and during the training course in Nice, it took a lot of seriousness,” Ollivon said at the post-match press conference.

“We needed to prepare well for this match, we have not been negligent at all.

“We were very serious, we have followed the instructions. We worked in depth during the 10 days in Nice and it paid off.”

France have not been Six Nations champions since 2010, but Fabien Galthie’s side won seven of their nine games in 2020 and head to Ireland next with confidence high.

Scrum-half Antoine Dupont, the 2020 player of the tournament, was again outstanding and joined Dylan Cretin, Gael Fickou, Arthur Vincent, Brice Dulin and Teddy Thomas, who crossed twice, on the try sheet.

Ollivon said: “In the first half, they put in big sequences, very hard to defend.

“I am very happy with the state of mind of the team which has not given up.

“At this level, there is no room for relaxation, even 30 seconds. It’s a big satisfaction today, but we will quickly have to switch and move on because we have a big game in a week.”

Italy head coach Franco Smith is still looking for his first win since being appointed in November 2019.

But the former South Africa international insists that he believes in his young group of players, with 10 of the starting XV against France having fewer than 10 caps.

Smith, whose side visit reigning Six Nations champions England next week, said: “I don’t think the French are that (much) better than us.

“Ball in hand we played very well and we suffered five tries from our mistakes, but we can improve and recover immediately.

“Growing a team internationally is very difficult, but physically the boys were fine and we were equal to them in intensity.”

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