France win back-to-back games for first time since 2012
Italy seen off in second half of bad-tempered clash
A devastating burst of 21 points in the opening 15 minutes of the second-half saw France beat Italy 30-10 in their Six Nations clash at the Stade de France on Sunday and record back-to-back wins for the first time since November 2012.
Tries by Louis Picamoles, Wesley Fofana and debutant Hugo Bonneval – all converted by Jean-Marc Doussain who scored 15 points in all – saw France pull away from Italy after a dull first-half had seen them lead only 9-3 at the break.
The match descended into an ill-tempered affair by the end with replacement props Rabah Slimane of France and Italy’s Michele Rizzo sent off by Jaco Peyper after the Frenchman reacted badly to the latter’s headbutt and then uppercuts.
It was the first time that two players had been sent off in a Five/Six Natons match since French duo Gregoire Lascube and Vincent Moscato were expelled in an infamous France-England clash in 1992.
The French can travel to two-time defending champions Wales on Friday week with an extra bounce in their step as the last time France beat England and Italy in Paris, in 2010, they went on to win the grand slam.
“The main thing we should remember from this game is that we have back to back wins for the first time since 2012 and that is important,” said France coach Philippe Saint-Andre.
Fofana, named man of the match, said that the early try in the second-half had turned the game.
“We needed to control the game better after the first-half,” said Fofana.
“That first try allowed us to do so as it calmed our nerves and then the other two coming quickly in succession permitted us to take our foot off the pedal,” added the 26-year-old centre.