Six Nations • Regular
RefReferee Nigel OwensStadio Olimpico • Monday, February 04, 2013 • 02:00

Match Italy - France, live coverage

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30
Commentaries by Toby Keel
- 

An amazing victory for Italy once again in Rome against France! One of the greatest nights in Italian rugby history - two years ago they earned it by clinging on, today they earned it by simply outplaying France for almost the whole match and hanging on superbly at the end. Congratulations, and Forza Italia!

80'

Bastareud now - and spun wide - but Italy push it out, and THEY HAVE BEATEN FRANCE AGAIN!

80' 

France still come, Dusautoir dives for the line... but spills it!

80' 

France win another penalty as Vendetti steals the ball from out of the scrum - another scrum, last move of the match!!!

80' 

The ref decides there's one minute left - now Burton is off for the yellow card as Italy needed a front rower.

80'

Giazzon is yellow carded for that professional foul to halt France's charge! 14 men need to stop what will be the final move of the match as France opt for the scrum.

80' 

The final minute begins, France still camped in the 22m - and it's a France penalty 12m out.

79' 

France dead in front, 12m out now.... Can Italy hang on?

79' 

France get it out and Dusautoir almost breaks through, but he's tackled desperately by McLean... France still come, and are just 15m out...!

78' 

Italy win a turnover in the ruck - Cittadini emerges with the ball and takes it into contact to run the clock down. But it's turned over!

77' 

France win the ball and try to drive it up the pitch - they know they have to go for a try, a kick at goal is too risky with just three minutes left.

76' 

France produced a brilliant scrum to win the ball against the head, and the Italians give away a penalty in desperation - France kick for a lineout just inside Italy's half.

75' 

The play breaks down and the ball doesn't come out of the ruck - Italy win the scrum on the France 22m.

74' 

Michalak spills the ball in a tackle while charging into the 22 - and Italy hit on the break! Vendetti makes the break and Parisse is in support in the charge upfield and in a flash Italy are just outside the France 22m.

73' 

Italy give away a penalty by standing up in the scrum in the France half, and the French kick for touch just outside the 22m. Good chance to make something happen from here.

73' 

Trinh-Duc comes on as a replacement full back for France, who are desperately needing some magic to get back into this.

72' 

Parisse chases down Huget, who does well not to turn it over - France hang on to the ball grimly, and Geldenhuys's huge tackle on Parra there genuinely seems to shock the Frenchman.

71' 

France are trying to push forward, but the Italian defence has them pegged back - and they're pushed back over the half-way line now.

70' 

France bring off Picamoles, Chouly comes on in his place - can he give France a bit more?

69' 

Italy are simply playing better right now: this doesn't even feel like a shock result, just one good team beating another.

68'

France win the ball back but Bastareud turns it over and Italy push forward again - and Burton tries a cheeky drop goal from 40m out - and he's nailed it! Incredible stuff, Italy lead 23-18!

67' 

Now the referee awards a free kick to France for some imagined infringement in the scrum - Michalalak kicks to half-way, and the pressure is off France again. Apart from the 2 point deficit.

66' 

Italy take the throw and maul it forward into the 22m - but the maul-averse referee blows up to give the ball to the French. Blue going through the middle, he claims, but hard to see what the problem was with that.

65' 

The scrum collapses again, and Italy have a penalty from out on the right flank, 40m out. Looks too far for Burton, so McLean kicks for a poor touch outside the 22m.

65' 

As a scrum collapses Italy bring Chris Burton on to replace Orquera - tough call for Orquera, who has been superb today.

64' 

Italy are doing exactly what they must: keeping it tight, keeping France pegged back, cutting out the errors. This is anyone's game.

63' 

France lose the ball out wide, and are again on the back foot - they now bring on Bastareud and Parra, while Castrogiovanni is off injured for Italy.

62' 

France with the ball, but they're back in their own half still.

61' 

Italy keep the ball well from the restart, recycling with discipline - but as soon as I type that Parisse spills the ball in a tackle and France regain the advantage.

60' 

More bad news for France as Pascal Pape comes off injured.

59'

The conversion is from inside the 15m line on the right so should be simple, but Orquera's heart is in his mouth as the ball slips just inside the right post. Never mind, they all count - and Italy lead 20-18!

57'

TRY TO ITALY! It's Martin Casstrogiovanni! The entire Italian team are involved in a lightning move, with McLean and Orquera making the majority of the running to get up into the France 22m, and Orquera offloads to to Castrogiovani to score an amazing try to level the scores.

56' 

Staggering run from Machenaud! The France number 9 runs the ball from deep in his own half to within 10m - but he's stopped, spills it and Italy hit on the counter!

55' 

Italy bring on a new front row, and a new scrum-half in the shape of Edoardo Gori.

54' 

Italy's mistakes are their biggest problem right now - the game is still theirs for the taking.

53'

Michalak's attempt from 40m falls just short this time - Italy still trail just by five, at 18-13.

51' 

From the restart there's some aerial ping pong which ends in Italy shame as Ghiraldini idiotically backs into Michalak as the fly-half is waiting to jump for a high ball. The ref spots the unsubtle foul and France will have a shot at goal.

50'

Splendid kick from Michalak - a stabby action keeps it low all the way, but it creeps just through the posts.

49' 

Huge Italy mistake from the scrum as Lo Cicero fails to bind properly - and Michalak has a chance to land a penalty from 40m, and out on the 15m line on the left.

48' 

France win the ball back and Picamoles finds some space to charge up the left - but just as he should have released Szarzewski he is tackled and spills it. Italy let off the hook there - the France flanker would have been in.

47' 

Comedy of errors now: the France throw in is bombed long, and falls straight to Orquera.

46' 

Orquera tries a kick into space but it drifts straight out for a France throw back in the Italy half.

45' 

Parisse finally gets over the gain line, and Italy spin the ball wide - but Sgarbi gets hauled down on the 22m. Nobody can get out of the middle section of the pitch right now.

44' 

Italy win the ball back and dry to pick and drive their way towards the 22m, but they're getting pushed back phase-by-phase.

43'

France try to run it back at Italy, but get pushed back - and there's an injury to Italy forward Geldenhuys that holds the game up.

42' 

Michalalk gets greedy with the penalty, missing touch - and Andrea Masi returns the ball to the half-way line.

41'

The match gets under way again and France quickly have a penalty on their own 10m line.

40'

The Italians kick the penalty for touch, and the referee blows for half time. Narrow lead for France at half time, and they've just about earned it.

40' 

France have the throw on the Italian 10m, and it'll be the last move of the half. Or rather not: the French are penalised for a dummy throw.

39' 

France keep coming, Michalak kicking through for Huget to chase but Botes doing brilliantly for Italy to hang on to it and ultimately get it to McLean. The Italian-Australian hammers a huge clearance, and the home fans breathe again.

38' 

France break straight back from the scrum with Fofana storming upfield - three white shirts converge on him and he tries a make-or-break pass to Ouedraogo in support... but the pass is too far ahead of the forward and he can't hang on to it.

37' 

Nice break by Italy as Zanni spots a gap and breaks the line - he's got McLean in support but leaves the pass too late and it's knocked on.

36' 

Italy, stung, once again push forward from the restart, winning the ball back and Botes trying a kick-through into the try area. Parisse almost gets there, but Michalak is on hand to boot it out of play.

35' 

Some wonderful counter-attacking rugby by Huget: he drew three men, and though several Italian shirts were chasing Fall there was no stopping him at full flow.

34'

Michalalk pops over the simplest of conversions, and France get their noses in front 15-13.

34'

TRY TO FRANCE! Wonderful work by Huget returning the punt and he delivers a perfect final pass to Benjamin Fall who is in under the posts!

33' 

McLean punts clear - but France return it at pace! It's opening up here!

32' 

France get pushed back despite winning the scrum, and Huget misplaces a pass that goes out to end the attack.

31' 

France win the scrum and Machenaud kicks deep - and Fall almost gets to it to score! Orquera spilt the catch but just managed to do enough to kick it away from the charging French winger.

30' 

Italy win the throw and start a rolling maul upfield that gets them to the 22m - they then spin it out, but miscommunication between the centres sees Benvenuti spill the pass meant to put him in to score.

29' 

Italy put the restart kick deep, but Machenaud clears it well to the 10m line.

28'

Michalak smacks that kick through with ease and it's 13-8.

28' 

A ridiculously wonky put-in at the scrum lets France get it out quickly - Michalak goes for the line but finds no way through, and Italy are penalised for encroaching offside. France will take the three points from dead in front and 10m out.

27'

The ball simply can't be seen on the replays - no try given, it's scrum to France 5m out.

27' 

Huget actually had the ball in the end as it was driven over - tough call for the TMO to decide. The ref's question was "Try: yes or no".

26' 

France win the ball from the throw in and Szarazweksi breaks away from the maul.. not quite there, but Machenaud spins it out and Fritz takes up the running - and he's driven over the line! No idea if he got the ball down - there was a scrum of at least eight bodies around the ball.

25' 

France win the throw and Benjamin Fall blasts down the left wing up to the 22m before being forced out into touch.

24' 

McLean takes the clearance and returns it upfield where Picamoles takes it and drives into the Italy half - a poor pass by Huget sees them lose it, but an Italian miskick gives them the ball back straight away.

23' 

McLean takes the punt from the penalty and puts the ball out deep in the France 22m - but the French steal it and end up clearing long and deep.

22' 

The scrum collapses after wheeling 90, and it's an Italian penalty just inside their own half.

20' 

Italy once again take the ball, but France put them under huge pressure and push them back - Michalalk almost wins a charge-down ball but can't hang on to it and knocks it on. Scrum Italy.

19' 

France in all sort of trouble at the moment, and Italy look in the mood to repeat that Stadio Flaminio glory of two years ago.

18'

Orquera lands his third successful shot at goal from 30m, and Italy are 13-5 ahead.

17' 

Italy once again take the initiative, Parisse charging up to the 22m and winning a penalty for offside against Mermoz - there's no advantage, and Orquera will likely knock this one over from almost dead in front.

15'

Three points for Italy! With not much on Botes throws a pass back to Orquera, dead in front and 30m out, to go for the drop goal. And it's perfect! He made that look calm and easy despite Picamoles trying to charge him down.

14' 

Italy seem cheered at having held on to the lead and push forward, taking the ball on the French 22m. Full of energy at the moment.

13'

Michalalk's attempt at the conversion is a poor one, shoved a good six or seven metres wide of the right post. Considering it was only from just outside the 15m that's pretty poor.

12'

TRY! France switch it back across the pitch and Picamoles picks up the running from 10m out - and he goes all the way, despite three Italian defenders hanging off him. That's why they call him the wrecking ball - he's a devastating machine.

11' 

France fail to drive for the line but work it across the field - now Michalak pings it back to Fritz, who is stopped a metre short!

10' 

Michalak tries an up-and-under onto the try line that puts the Italians in disarray - there's a knock-on and France have a scrum 8m out.

9' 

France win the throw and try to maul it down towards the line.

8' 

France press forward immediately from the restart and get up to the Italian line, but lose the ball from a line-out and Orquera clears to the 22m.

6'

Italy fly-half Orquera lines up the conversion from half-way between the 15m and 5m, and bangs it cleanly through the middle. Stunning start for the Italians.

5'

TRY TO ITALY! After regaining the ball France kick it straight back, and Luke McLean makes a stunning darting run to return the ball with interest - he's stopped, but from the restart Orquera breaks the line and then delivers a brilliant final pass to Sergio Parisse, who runs in to score! Magnificent!

5' 

Italy still recycling well - no, just as we say that there's a mistake by Minto to turn it over.

4' 

Italy win the throw but are fighting in vain to get over the gain line. France defence pushing them back with every tackle.

3' 

Italy kicker Luke McLean punts the penalty onto the 22m - nice early attacking platform for the home side.

2' 

France playing in deep royal blue today, with Italy all in white - and it's Italy who get an early penalty just behind half-way. They'll kick for a good touch here.

1'

France fly-half Frederic Michalalk gets the game under way by putting his kick straight out - not a great start for the visitors!

14:58 

The teams line up for the national anthems, with the home fans belting out "Italia! Italia!", then dum-dummady-dumming for all their worth through that strange bit in the middle.

14:55 

The French team take to the field to huge cheers from a healthy travelling contingent - no doubt mostly made up of fans desperate to see a win after that shocking French defeat on Italian soil two years ago.

14:50 

Experience referee Nigel Owens of Wales takes charge today. He is from the town of Mynyddcerrig which I would not have mentioned if this was an audio broadcast.

14:45 

Former captain Thierry Dusautoir is back for France after missing the June and November Tests but Pascal Pape keeps the captain's armband. Maxime Machenaud's fine performances in France's three November wins over Australia, Argentina and Samoa earn him another start at scrum half, alongside Frederic Michalak.

14:40 

South Africa-born Tobias Botes will start at scrum half as part of three changes for Italy's last November international against Australia. Luke McLean replaces the injured Mirco Bergamasco on the wing and flanker Simone Favaro is the final change, taking the place of Robert Barbieri.

14:35

TEAM: France: 15-Yoann Huget, 14-Wesley Fofana, 13-Florian Fritz, 12-Maxime Mermoz, 11-Benjamin Fall, 10-Frederic Michalak, 9-Maxime Machenaud, 8-Louis Picamoles, 7-Thierry Dusautoir, 6-Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5-Yoann Maestri, 4-Pascal Pape (captain), 3-Nicolas Mas, 2-Dimitri Szarzewski, 1-Yannick Forestier.

14:35

TEAM: Italy: 15-Andrea Masi, 14-Giovanbattista Venditti, 13-Tommaso Benvenuti, 12-Alberto Sgarbi, 11-Luke McLean, 10-Luciano Orquera, 9-Tobias Botes, 8-Sergio Parisse (captain), 7-Simone Favaro, 6-Alessandro Zanni, 5-Francesco Minto, 4-Quintin Geldenhuys, 3-Martin Castrogiovanni, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1-Andrea Lo Cicero

14:30 

Hello and welcome to our live coverage from Rome as the opening weekend on the Six Nations concludes.

 

 
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Last Results

 
 
3
Win
4
2
Lost
1
0
Draw(s)
0
ITA19 x 22AUS
ITA10 x 42NZL
ITA28 x 23TGA
USA10 x 30ITA
CAN16 x 25ITA
 
FRA22 x 14SAM
FRA39 x 22ARG
FRA33 x 6AUS
ARG10 x 49FRA
ARG23 x 20FRA
 
  PtsPWDLfa+/-
1WalesWales854011226656
2EnglandEngland85401947816
3ScotlandScotland4520398107-9
4ItalyItaly4520375111-36
5IrelandIreland351137281-9
6FranceFrance351137391-18