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Monday, 3 April, 2000, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
Welcome to the family
Diego Dominguez
Diego Dominguez: Signed off in style
BBC commentator Eddie Butler says Italy's performance against France proves they are a worthy addition to the Six Nations family.

Italy have had an eminently satisfactory start to their Six Nations career.

Six Nations Championship
They have achieved their one win - at home against Scotland in the first match - which is a major triumph.

And their never-say-die performance against France in Paris provided a far more entertaining, far closer match than anyone expected.

Diego Dominguez was outstanding once again at fly-half and the hold side played with tremendous heart.

Players who qualify through Italian grandparents could be a major boost to Italy in future years

Eddie Butler

They were a man down and fought back to score two superb tries when it looked as if France were on the verge of running in three or four quick scores and washing them away.

Italy have no great depth and that is why the International Rugby Board must not be too draconian with any rules it introduces following the eligibility scandal.

Players who qualify through Italian grandparents could be a major boost to Italy in future years.

Italy played with tremendous heart

France, on the other hand, have at times been brilliant and at other times just awful.

They are trying to reach this magic formula that is somewhere between the authority and discipline that England show at their best and the free-flowing adventure of Australia.

France's problems lie in the internal structure of French rugby.

It is too hectic and the schedule too overcrowded, and if you think the domestic game in Britain is in a state, it's nowhere near as bad as the situation across the Channel.

But the Italy-France clash nonetheless contributed magnificently to the glorious final weekend of the Six Nations that has somehow developed a charm all of its own.
Alain Penaud
France: Falling between two stools

There was a fabulous atmosphere that no other competition in the world can match.

Even for this game, the Stade de France was packed with 75,000 people, perhaps just two or three thousand short of capacity.

As for next year, I have absolutely no idea who will win it or what the results will be. That is also the beauty of it. Ignorance rules and so does the Six Nations.

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See also:

01 Apr 00 | Six Nations
Gallant Italy edged out in Paris
01 Apr 00 | Six Nations
Wales triumph over fighting Irish
02 Apr 00 | Rugby Union
Brave Scots defeat England