Follow live updates as France host Italy in the final Six Nations fixture of the opening weekend. Hopes will be high in Paris as Les Blues open their campaign as tournament favourites and with real belief that they can win the title for the first time since 2010. Victory over New Zealand during the Autumn Nations Series at a raucous Stade de France was the latest example that this team is ready to deliver a championship, with Romain Ntamack and Antoine Dupont playing starring roles in Fabien Galthie’s side.
The France head coach will be absent for his team’s opening fixture after testing positive for Covid, but the hosts remain overwhelming favourites as they welcome their continental rivals Italy. The Italians are odds-on to finish with the wooden spoon once again and have not won a Six Nations fixture since 2015.
Anything other than France joining Scotland and Ireland at the top of the table would be a seismic shock, following wins over England and Wales respectively on the opening day of the tournament on Saturday. A France win would also set up a huge fixture against Ireland in the second week, a match that could go a long way to deciding the tournament winner.
Follow live updates from France vs Italy in the Six Nations below:
France 3-0 Italy, 14 minutes
So strong in fact that France lose patience with the toiling and send something skywards. It lands inside the 22 but Paolo Garbisi does not call a mark, trying instead to sidestep Damian Penaud but clung on to by the long-limbed wing. Italy’s desperate attempts to clear the ruck sees them lose it forward on the floor. France scrum 30 metres out about ten metres in from the right touchline.
Harry Latham-Coyle6 February 2022 15:18
France 3-0 Italy, 13 minutes
Julien Marchand hits Gregory Alldritt at the front and France form a maul. Italy defend it nicely, and France make little progress. To midfield, and Jonathan Danty is biffed backwards after an initially shimmy. Strong start from this Italian defensive unit.
Harry Latham-Coyle6 February 2022 15:16
France 3-0 Italy, 12 minutes
And that was always coming. Another healthy shove from France, and Mike Adamson whistles the penalty their way. Tiziano Pasquali buckled by Cyril Baille.
Harry Latham-Coyle6 February 2022 15:15
France 3-0 Italy, 11 minutes
Halafihi is then employed from the base of a fake maul, shipping the ball on to the forthright Marco Zanon, who again wins his collision. A firm shunt from Sebastian Negri keeps the momentum going but a slightly untidy ruck squirts the ball free, and Stephen Varney fails to pick-up the mess. Knock-on, France scrum.
Harry Latham-Coyle6 February 2022 15:15
France 3-0 Italy, 10 minutes
Strong defence from Italy. Gregory Alldritt is isolated as he takes a short line from Antoine Dupont, and Toa Halafihi’s first prominent intervention on debut is to win a turnover penalty.
Harry Latham-Coyle6 February 2022 15:13
France 3-0 Italy, 9 minutes
France send the Italian eight into reverse but scrum-half Stephen Varney plucks the ball out and allows his side to clear.
Gabin Villiere produces a Matrix-esque dodge beneath a leaping Tommaso Menoncello as he claims the kick, and France immediately go back to the air. That’s very good from Edoardo Padovani – one of a limited number of Italians with real experience, and he shows all his nous by just waiting to time his leap appropriately and claim a potentially troublesome high bomb.
Harry Latham-Coyle6 February 2022 15:12
France 3-0 Italy, 7 minutes
The French scrum is anchored by the enormous Uini Atonio and predictably stable. Damian Penaud is thrust into midfield off the blindside wing and is over the gain line, developing quick ball. Opportunities appear as France then whisk the ball wide, and a stab through over the slippery surface just evades an onrushing Gabin Villiere with chalk on his boots sliding for the corner. Nearly. Villiere spills forward into touch and Italy will have the scrum.
Harry Latham-Coyle6 February 2022 15:11
France 3-0 Italy, 6 minutes
Man alive that is a thump! France absolutely hammer a long punt towards Paolo Garbisi, who is forced in to an unexpected retreat, like a boundary fielder who has rushed in too early. Garbisi drops it. France scrum near the Italian 22.
Harry Latham-Coyle6 February 2022 15:09
PENALTY! FRANCE 3-0 Italy (Melvyn Jaminet penalty, 5 minutes)
A banker for a man emerging as one of the most reliable kickers from the tee in Europe. A confident early strike from Jaminet and the hosts are underway.
Harry Latham-Coyle6 February 2022 15:08
France 0-0 Italy, 4 minutes
Dupont is tackled firmly but Italy are wandering free before the ball is out of the resulting ruck. Offside, penalty to France, and a first shot at goal for Melvyn Jaminet from 35 out, right in front.
Harry Latham-Coyle6 February 2022 15:07