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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 March, 2005, 16:08 GMT
Maturity impresses coach Laporte
France coach Bernard Laporte
French coach Bernard Laporte and captain Fabien Pelous paid tribute to their young side after thrashing Italy 56-13 in the Six Nations Championship.

After a slow start they won four out of five games and refused to be provoked by a physical Italian side.

"I'm pleased with the way we played throughout the tournament. It's a young team for the future," said Laporte.

"We nearly got so irritated that we were going to slug it out but half-time came at the right time," said Pelous.

One of the youngsters who particularly impressed was debutant David Marty, deputising for the suspended Benoit Baby.

He marked his first run-out with two tries, but said their rhythm had been disrupted by an injury to Christophe Dominici.

The French winger was taken to hospital with concussion after a high tackle by Salvatore Perugini.

The step up from club rugby to international level is not as great for France as it is for us
Italy coach John Kirwan

"I am happy with my first selection - two tries even if it was against Italy," he said.

"We knew that if we played the way we can do we would get the points we needed.

"Dominici's injury broke our rhythm for a bit, but we got it back together again after that."

Italy, who have only beaten France once in 25 meetings, took an early lead through Gert Peens' penalty but were left trailing in the wake of a rampant French display.

Coach John Kirwan, who has been in charge for three years, said the structure of club rugby in Italy made it difficult for them to compete with the other Six Nations teams.

"France bring through all these good young players and for them to take the step up from club rugby to international level is not as great as it is for our players," he said.

He also pleaded with the Italian authorities to show some patience with his team-building plans.

"Clive Woodward was under pressure in 1998, but his bosses were patient and he helped England win the World Cup," he said.

Highlights: Italy 13-56 France

Interview: Italy coach John Kirwin

Interview: France coach Bernard Laporte


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