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Full-time: France 25-13 Italy


By Nabil Hassan

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1650: Thanks to everyone who emailed and texted in today, bring on next weekend.

1647: So it's all set up for next Saturday then. Wales and France are battling in out for the championship while Italy face a mammoth task to avoid the wooden spoon against Scotland. While England against Ireland is largely a dead-rubber.

1645: "As an Englishman I hate watching the French backs. Envy and jealousy does not make for a happy Sunday afternoon. When they are good, they are VERY good."
nowthennathan on 606

1643: "It is always difficult to play against Italy, it is always a tough game and we are pleased with the victory. It will be very hard in Cardiff against Wales, I hope it will be a beautiful game."
Man-of-the-match Aurelien Rougerie on BBC Two

FULL-TIME: France 25-13 Italy
The whistle goes in Paris in what has actually been a decent game of rugby. France looked brilliant in patches but have it all to do next weekend.

They travel to Cardiff needing to beat Wales by 20 points in order to win the Six Nations Championship.

On today's evidence Warren Gatland will be quietly confident that his side can hold out and win the Grand Slam.

78 mins: Rougerie goes on another trademark sprint down the wing, he is eventually bundled into touch but it's yet another superb contribution from the French wing.

Fittingly Jonathan Davies makes him the man-of-the-match. It's well deserved.

77 mins: Italy waste the chance to reduce the deficit, losing the ball in contact and France kick to safety.

74 mins: Despite a scrappy line-out Italy secure the ball and France concede another penalty. This time Italy opt for the scrum.

72 mins: Italy refuse to give up though and go in search of a second try.

Intense pressure results in an Italian penalty which is kicked to touch.

69 mins: It's all France now. Italy are tiring and France have one eye on increasing their points difference ahead of next Saturday's trip to Cardiff.

65 min: TRY France 25-13 Italy
France win their scrum and a flowing three-quarter move sees Rougerie cut through the Italian midfield for a superb score.

Yachvili sends over the conversion as France start to turn the screw.

64 min: France win the line-out but Italy do well to drive them away from their try-line for a scrum eight metres out. France have the put-in.

62 min: Italy are under big pressure on their own line and they struggle to clear. Eventually they do find touch and France have a decent attacking platform.

61 min: It's TMO time. Rougerie goes over in the corner after a fine break down the wing, he dives for the line but replays show a superb tackle from Bergamasco keeps the ball above ground.

Predictably the French fans are not happy.

60 min: "Wales thrashed this Italian team in Cardiff, but the French seem to be making very heavy weather of it in Paris. They should win, but I can't see them doing much at the Millennium next week if they play like this."
jongleur100 on 606

57 min: TRY France 18-13 Italy
Italy win the line-out and drive to the corner and Martin Castrogiovanni bundles over from close range to send the Italian fans wild.

Marcato sends over the extras and Italy are right back in this match.

55 min: Italy win a penalty after France are caught offside and they kick to the corner. They need points from this.

52 min: TRY France 18-6 Italy
A piece of magic from Yachvili sees Jauzion go over for France's second try.

Yachvili chips the ball over the Italy defence from the base of the scrum, Jauzion is first to react and he collects the ball to dive over unchallenged.

Yachvili hits the post with the conversion, but that try was just what the game needed.

50 min: The crowd start to lose patience as both France and Italy resort to kicking the ball back and forth. It's not great stuff.

47 min: It's a scrappy start to the second period, neither side can secure possession and the game is becoming littered with errors.

41 min: We're back under way in Paris.

1552: "(Italy fly-half) Andrea Masi is standing far too deep. He has to run 10m or 15m just to reach the gain line.

"With the organised defences these days, the France defence coach is just going to put two or three players on him and that will be that."
BBC pundit Jonathan Davies on BBC Two

1547: Live stats show that Italy have missed eight tackles to France's two. You don't have to be genius to work out that if that continues in the second half, France will win this comfortably.

Italy need to sharpen up, especially in midfield.

HALF-TIME: France 13-6 Italy
France go in with a narrow lead after a thoroughly entertaining half of rugby. Italy have shaded the possession but not enough quick ball at the breakdown is costing them.

Lievremont's side look sharp with the ball in hand and are dangerous every time the ball goes wide. Expect a cracking second half.

38 min: France come close to scoring their second try of the half but are denied after a knock on by Rougerie.

Debutant Yann David creates it with a fine break, he hands off several tackles before eventually being brought down by the Italian defence.

34 min: PEN France 13-6 Italy
Italy concede a penalty for not rolling away and Yachvili kicks his second penalty of the game.

29 min: PEN France 10-6 Italy
Again Italy's response is rapid with Marcato sending over a mammoth penalty from close to halfway after France had been penalised for a ruck infringement.

27 min: PEN France 10-3 Italy
Canale's afternoon gets worse as he concedes a penalty after taking out Jauzion in a less that subtle manner.

Yachvili sends over a simple penalty for France who stretch their lead back to seven.

24 min: "All I ask is for is a better game of rugby than at Murrayfield. My eyes had crusted over by this time yesterday."
nowthennathan on 606

22 min: Italy come desperately close to scoring in the corner.

Hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini goes on a surging run down the wing, he beats off several tackles before passing back inside. But with the line at his mercy Gonzalo Canale puts the ball down and the danger is averted.

17 min: PEN France 7-3 Italy
Italy's response is swift and Andrea Marcato gets his side back into the game with a straightforward penalty, 30 metres out.

13 min: TRY France 7-0 Italy
Anthony Floch goes over in the corner for France. France's forwards drive their side deep into Italy's half before releasing the ball to Francois Trinh-Duc who sends up a delightful cross-kick in the direction of Julien Malzieu.

The French winger spectacularly taps the ball in-field into the hands of Floch who dives over for the opening score.

Yachvili sends over the extras to stretch their lead.

7 min: It's a feisty start and neither front-row is taking a backwards step.

4 min: France make a bright start and Bergamasco concedes a penalty on his own line. France captain Lionel Nallet makes a mess of a quick tap though and Italy are awarded a scrum, which eventually results in a penalty for Mallett's men.

Italy breathe a huge sigh of relief as France really should have made them pay.

1 min: Italy fly-half Andrea Masi gets things underway in Paris.

1457: "This weekend in sport has all been about the so-called underdogs - I expect a win for Italy that will seal the tournament for Wales!"
Anon via text

Anon you are right it has been the weekend of the underdog, but please remember to include your name so I know who you are. Talking of underdogs if football is your game Cardiff City still lead Middlesbrough 2-0 in the FA Cup.

1455: The teams enter the pitch, and the anthems begin. We're very, very close to kick-off and the Stade de France is buzzing.

1453: "Looking from outside it looks a strange side to pick but Marc Lievremont wants to use 50 or 60 players to see what kind of game he can play in the future."
Former French captain Abdel Benazzi on BBC Two

1450: "Whatever team France picks it will always be difficult. Marc has good players in his squad and they have strength in depth and could pick three teams of equal merit. It'll be tough for us."
Italy coach Nick Mallett on BBC Two

1435: Afternoon all and welcome to the final Six Nations game of the weekend. The Stade de France is slowly filling up as Marc Lievremont's men look to bounce back from their defeat to England a fortnight ago.

Italy are still seeking their first win of this year's tournament and coach Nick Mallett has made four changes for the trip to Paris, while Lievremont has stuck with his chop-and-change selection policy with nine changes to his starting XV.

France 25-13 Italy
09 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Six Nations photos
08 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union


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