Six Nations: France v Italy

Marseille hosts its maiden Six Nations fixture with both sides searching for their first win of 2018

Patrick Madden Fri, Feb 23
LIVE: Six Nations: France v Italy

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  • Good evening!

    Welcome to our coverage of France's Six Nations clash with Italy in Marseille (8.0).

    It says a lot about the curent standing of French rugby that failure to beat the Azzurri in the third round of the Championship tonight will probably resign them to the Wooden Spoon.

    Jaques Brunel's side have been edged out by Ireland and Scotland in their opening two fixtures, and desperately need to get some points on the board to try and save some face.

    Italy meanwhile have conceded 102 points and 15 tries already in the tournament, albeit against England and Ireland. Conor O'Shea knows his team have to lay some down of marker of improvement in this year's Championship - this is by far their best chance.

    Tonight's game is France's first ever Six Nations home fixture to be played outside of Paris. The stunning Stade Velodrome is a fitting venue for Les Bleus to get back on track.

    We'll be bringing you all of the action throughout, on the eve of a huge weekend of sport.

    Come on!!!

  • FRANCE (v Italy, Marseille, Friday, 8pm Irish time): Hugo Bonneval; Benjamin Fall, Mathieu Bastareaud, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Remy Grosso; Lionel Beauxis, Maxime Machenaud; Jefferson Poirot, Guilhem Guirado (capt), Rabah Slimani; Paul Gabrillagues, Sebastien Vahaamahina; Wenceslas Lauret, Yacouba Camara, Marco Tauleigne. Replacements: Adrien Pelissie, Dany Priso, Cedate Gomes Sa, Romain Taofifenua, Kelian Galletier, Baptiste Couilloud, Francois Trinh-Duc, Gael Fickou.

    ITALY: Matteo Minozzi; Tommaso Benvenuti, Tommaso Boni, Tomasso Castello, Mattia Bellini; Tomasso Allan, Marcello Violi; Andrea Lovotti, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Simone Ferrari; Alessandro Zanni, Dean Budd; Sebastian Negri, Maxime Mbanda, Sergio Parisse (capt). Replacements: Luca Bigi, Nicola Quaglio, Tiziano Pasquali, George Fabio Biagi, Federico Ruzza, Edoardo Gori, Carlo Canna, Jayden Hayward.

  • There's three other fixtures of interest tonight, with Munster and Leinster in Pro 14 action, as well as Ireland Under-20s clash with Wales - I'll keep you up to date with those.

    The Under-20s are currently losing 12-3 after 19 minutes at Donnybrook.

  • As if France didn't have enough problems, Brunel has dropped a number of players for tonight's fixtures for disciplinary reasons, following an incident in Edinburgh in the wake of that defeat to Scotland.  

    Those on the naughty step include the electric Teddy Thomas, who scored stunning tries against Ireland and at Murrayfield. Merde!

  • Back in the saddle for the French tonight is  Mathieu Bastareaud, who returns from a three-week ban for using a homophobic slur while playing for Toulon. He will test Italy's fragile defence in midfield.

    HT: Munster 13 Glasgow 0

    12 min: Leinster 14 Southern Kings 0

    30 min: Ire U-20s 3 Wales U-20s 19

  • Tonight is the 12th edition of the Giuseppe Garibaldi trophy, with France looking to lift it for a 10th time. The winning captain will be presented with a giant biscuit at full time.
  • Here come the teams at the Velodrome. New build stadiums are often soulless but this one is pretty impressive.
  • Anthems time.

    A particularly stirring rendition of La Marseillaise.

  • Wayne Barnes tonight's referee. France decked out in white, Italy in blue.

    Allan gets us underway!!!

  • 1 min: A couple of early, hard carries from France before Beauxis clears to the livewire Minozzi, who dances back into traffic. Violi boxkicks and draws a knock-on from France. Italian possession on halfway.
  • 2 min: Italy looking after the ball well, Boni bouncing one tackler and making a few yards, before he gets isolated and the returning  Bastareaud earns his side a penalty.
  • 3 min: France set the lineout maul and begin a slow march inside the Italian 22 - penalty coming.
  • 4 min: France use the hands inside the 22,  Bastareaud having his first real rumble. Parisse does well to hold Budd up in the tackle so Barnes brings play back for the French penalty - Beauxis goes for the corner.
  • TRY FRANCE!!!!
  • Camara takes the lineout and they set another maul, bullying their way through a poor Italian counter and over the line, where  Gabrillagues touches down.  

    Machenaud's conversion effort fades just wide.


  • HT: IRELAND U-20s 10 WALES U-20s 19
  • 9 min: Italy win a penalty just outside the French 22 and go for the corner - big opportunity.
  • TRY ITALY!!!!!
  • Brilliant response. Italy maul infield, gaining serious traction towards the posts. The French counter is poor and Mbanda gets the ball down.

    But Barnes goes to the TMO, and repays shows there's no proper grounding. However he feels the maul was collapsed by a French player - he can't identify who it is - but awards a penalty try regardless. Very strange.

    Allan converts.

    13 MIN: FRANCE 5 ITALY 7

  • Ireland Under-20s have conceded after 20 seconds of the second half.

    41 min: Ireland U-20s 10 Wales U-20s 26

  • 16 min: Sustained French possession inside the Italy 10 and there's a great linebreak on the left from Lauret.  Bastareaud takes the ball from a standing start and it takes two defenders to drag him down on the five-metre, where France are penalised for going in off feet. Canna clears the penalty into touch.
  • The introduction of South Africa's basement sides into the Pro 14 continues to prove a roaring success...
  • 19 min: France piling the pressure on and are inches away form scoring a second. Machenaud tries to throw a wide pass but doesn't have the options so gets scragged, before Grosso knocks on allowing Italy to break. Great hands from Manozzi who kicks ahead and wraps up Fall, who in turn does well to secure it. Really open stuff.
  • 20 MIN: FRANCE 5 ITALY 7
  • 21 min: Canna sees the space and tries to orchestrate an Italian attack from the right but there's a pod of three forwards and Zanni spills it forward. France try a set move off the lineout but a short ball to Bonneval goes forward.
  • 23 min: Italy hold firm at scrum time and release their backs on the right, Minnozi coming into the line. After a while the Azzurri run out of ideas and Violi box kicks. Bonneval covers and runs his way out of trouble, finding Fall who kicks clear.
  • 25 min: Lovely, flowing move from France, who work the ball from deep and release Grosso down the left. He beats the tame tackle of Benvenuti before being hauled into touch. A bit of afters ensues.
  • 26 min: Zanni claims the lineout and Violi opts to try and work the smallest of spaces on the short side, leaving Benvenuti short of options and allowing France to turn it over.
  • 27 min: France hammering away at the Italian line, Bastareaud and then Ghiraldini being held up fraction short. Barnes blow up for a French penalty on the five.

    This time, Machenaud will go for goal. He edges France back in front.

    29 MIN: FRANCE 8 ITALY 7

  • A mini-epic is unfolding at Donnybrook. Each time Ireland get themselves back in range Wales pull further ahead.

    58 MIN: IRELAND 24 WALES 38

  • 32 min: Excellent recovery and run from Grosso, picking up the pieces after the ball goes loose and carving through the first phase of Italian defence. Italy have it back before Bastareaud shows a bit of genius with an offload from the deck.
  • 33 min: France pressing but somehow they haven't scored another try, Italy's scrambling defence keeping their heads abover water. French penalty and they tap it quickly, before Bastareaud spills forward over the line and the Azzurri tap it down for a drop out.  
  • 35 min: Powerful work from Camara, handing off Parisse and finding Grosso on the left wing, but he doesn't have much room to work with and has to cut back inside.
  • Ireland Under-20s are back within a converted score at Donnybrook.

    65 MIN: IRELAND U-20s 31 WALES U-20s 38

  • 35 MIN: FRANCE 8 ITALY 7
  • 37 min: Italy looking to build around the French 10 but it's all very predictable and they kick down the throat of Beauxis who calls a mark.  
  • 40 min: Neat play from France, Fall kicking ahead down the right before a good chase sees them earn a penalty.

    Machenaud goes for goal and slots it with aplomb.

    40 MIN: FRANCE 11 ITALY 7

  • Latest scores:

    73 min: Ireland 31 Wales 41

    FT: Munster 21 Glasgow 10

    57 min: Leinster 52 Southern Kings 7

  • What a game at Donnybrook.

    77 MIN: IRELAND U-20s 38 WALES U-20s 41

  • We're back underway in Marseille!
  • 42 min: What a chance!!!! France enforce a turnover on the Italian 10 and have huge numbers over. Bastareaud shows lovely, deft hands in midfield to find Beauxis who breaks the line but he butchers the opportunity as his pass to Doumayrou goes loose. Replays show Benvenuti got a hand to it.
  • 44 min: The second half has continued in a similar vein to the first. France move it right deep inside the Italian 22, Bastareaud bouncing a poor tackler in midfield. Again, the move slows down and Barnes blows for a penalty - this time after a high tackle on Vahaamahina.

    Machenaud knocks over the penalty from under the posts.

    46 MIN: FRANCE 14 ITALY 7

  • 46 min: Sloppy play from Doumayrou who kicks out on the full after France had passed the ball back inside the 22. Italy win the lineout and earn a penalty after France collapse the maul. Allan kicks it deeper into the corner.
  • 48 min: France pinch it through Camara and they exit well, Machenaud finding a good touch from the base.
  • 49 min: Italy hit back with a good lineout steal of their own and then they earn a penalty after Parisse is taken out off the ball.  

    The kick is just outside the 10 and just to the right of cenre - Allan strikes it nicely to move Italy back within four.

    50 MIN: FRANCE 14 ITALY 10

  • 52 min: Decent platform for Italy, lineout on halfway near the right touchline with their entire backline in play on the left. They earn a scrum penalty and Parisse taps quickly but then Benvenuti knocks on in the tackle.
  • 54 min: Good French ball and Beauxis then switches play with a nice kick to Fall, but he is quickly wrapped up by Bellini and Italy turn it over.
  • Just the 64 points for Leinster tonight.
  • 56 min: Brilliant break from deep by flanker Negri - lovely step for a big man - and he gets Italy up to the French 22. They run a few more phases before it slows down and dogged work from Lauret earns his side a penalty.
  • 57 min: Italy turnover then they kick the ball deep into the right corner. France defend their lineout and then run a couple of short phases before Machenaud clears with a nice box kick up to halfway.
  • TRY FRANCE!!!!!!
  • Bastareaud has been impressive tonight and he creates the score, producing an improbable offload in midfield to find Bonneval. He finds Grosso on the left wing who carries and moves it back inside to Bonneval who cruises over to score. Game try you'd presume.

    Machenaud converts.

    62 MIN: FRANCE 21 ITALY 10

  • 63 min: France opening up a bit now, showing good hands again to move it across to Galletier on the right wing who is chopped down.  

    Barnes brings play back for a penalty, which Machenaud will take from the 10. It's central and he slots it.

    65 MIN: FRANCE 24 ITALY 10

  • 68 min: France in the ascendancy again, Guirado making a thumping carry deep into the 22. The French have a penalty coming and Italy are in real danger of losing a man to the bin. Again though, it's poor execution from the hosts and Beauxis chucks it loose with men over.

    Machenaud will increase France's lead from inside the 22 - makes no mistake.  

    70 MIN: FRANCE 27 ITALY 10

  • TRY FRANCE!!!!
  • Bastareaud seals his fine return to action with a try. Excellent burst from deep and France are back into the 22, they run a couple of short, sharp phases before the big centre shows great strength to force his way through two tacklers and over the line.

    Trinh-Duc converts.

    75 MIN: FRANCE 34 ITALY 10

  • 76 min: France nearly cut through Italy again, Pelissie turning it over before the ball is moved right to Fall on the wing. He finds new man Fickou who in turn finds Bonneval, but he is well tackled and the ball goes forward.
  • TRY ITALY!!!!
  • Italy throwing it around with abandon at the death and replacement Hayward makes a break from deep, stepping inside Priso and offloading. His supporting runner doesn't have the gas to reach the line so throws a wild offload which comes off a French shirt, allowing Minozzi to pick up the loose ball and touch down.

    Gori converts with a quick dropgoal.

    79 MIN: FRANCE 34 ITALY 17

  • 80 min: There's a buit of HIA confusion at the last - although not quite as controversial as when Ireland were in Paris. France on the ball with the clock running down as they search for a bonus point.
  • 80 min: A combination of good French offloading and poor Italian tackling sees France work their way up to the five. Bastareaud runs back into traffic and Parisse - boom. Penalty France and they take a quick tap.
  • 82 min: France under the posts and the ball goes loose - replacement prop Bigi is sent to the bin for a deliberate knock on.
  • FT: FRANCE 34 ITALY 17
  • Right, thanks for joining tonight. We'll be back tomorrow for Ireland's clash with Wales and England aganist Scotland. A nice quiet day.