What some may consider the fight for the wooden spoon will take place on Friday night, with France hosting at the Orange Velodrome. Both sides have lost their first two fixtures of the tournament and with a strong display of rugby from the home nations, this may be one of these sides’ only win.
Historically, France has been victorious in the last 5 meetings of the two nations, we’ve taken a look back at some of the talking points from these match-ups.
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2017: Italy 18-40 France
Italy hosted the last meeting of the sides, and after a fairly contested first 40 minutes with the scoreline being 11-16 in France’s favour at half time, Les blues began to dominate right from the whistle. Camille Lopez was an integral part of France’s victory, scoring 20 of their 40 points, he also went on to be the tournament’s highest scoring player with 67 points in total. Italy did score a consolation try in the dying moments of the game but France took the victory.
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2016: France 23-21 Italy
The closest Italy have come to beating France was in the 2016 six nations when there were only two points in it at the final whistle. Both sides experienced poor form from their kickers in this meeting, with a total of three conversions and two penalties all being missed in the first half. Italy held the lead 21-20 until they allowed France to capitalize on their poor discipline with Jules Plisson giving Sebastien Bezy a kicking for points masterclass. Bezy missed every kick in the first half and Plisson didn’t drop any points from the tee.
2015: France 32-10 Italy
The 2015 Rugby World Cup also gifted us with a fixture between these two sides, and the Azzurri’s’ again let themselves down giving away 8 penalties which resulted in France scoring 18 of their 32 points from the tee. After a rocky start for France’s Jean-Marc Doussain, missing the first two penalties, he soon corrected his technique and went on to score half of Les Blues’ points. Italy also had an issue with kicking technique as Gonzalo Garcia missed the first two penalties and Tommaso Allan missed the third resulting in a 12-point drop for the Azzurri giving France a 22-point lead.
2015: Italy 0-29 France
In the six nations competition of the same year, France dominated with a convincing victory in Rome which dampened the spirits of the Azzurri after their 22-19 victory over Scotland in the last set of fixtures. Italy could have been six points ahead in the first 15 minutes but Tommaso Allan missed the first and only penalties for Italy and again their discipline opened the door for France after they gave away a total of six penalties resulting in 15 points for the French and another victory.
2014: France 30-10 Italy
In 2014, France again came out victorious but there was an interesting altercation between France’s Rabah Slimani and Italy’s Michele Rizzo. In the 70th minute, Rizzo head-butted Slimani during a scrum and the Frenchman responded in similar fashion, in which the Italian replied with a swift onslaught of uppercuts and after the pair were finally separated, they both saw red which was the first time since 1992 that two players have been sent off in a game.
Who do you think will top the table after Round Three?
🏉 FRA v ITA
🏉 IRE v WAL
— NatWest 6 Nations (@SixNationsRugby) February 13, 2018