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France 25-0 Italy

France coasted to a comfortable victory over Italy in the RBS Six Nations in Paris on Saturday.

Number eight Imanol Harinordoquy scored tries either side of half-time, while Pepito Elhorga added a late score.

Scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde and centre Damien Traille kicked the game’s remaining points.

Despite the ease of the win the French did little to worry Clive Woodward’s England in a display marred by a host of handling errors.

They never looked in danger of losing, though, and were far the stronger in the opening half, dominating the attacks but lacking any fluency in the process.

A missed Elissalde penalty briefly unsettled them before the number nine made amends with a spot kick eight minutes later.

While France struggled to do the basics, Italy’s handling errors and missed tackles were even more noticeable.

Arguably the biggest offender was Mirco Bergamasco, who failed to fell Harinordoquy, allowing him to slide into the left-hand corner for the half’s only try.

France could and should have had two more tries before the interval, only for the selfishness of Nicolas Brusque to let them down.

Italy’s only clear-cut scoring chance came in the 49th minute but Paul Griffen was caught just short before Bergamasco failed to keep in play an ensuing Rima Wakarua cross-field kick.

Before that Damien Traille had extended the lead with a monstrous penalty effort.

And the home side’s lead looked set to be extended further still in the 52nd minute only for Christophe Dominici to remarkably drop the ball as he nonchalantly went to touch it down over Italy’s try line.

France continued to dominate territory and possession and finally got their second try 10 minutes later, Harinordoquy again forcing his way over into the left-hand corner.

As the game headed into the final 10 minutes, they looked to have clinched a third only for Jean-Jacques Crenca’s impressive burst to be disallowed for crossing.

Their disappointment was shortlived as replacement Pepito Elhorga slid in after sprinting down the right wing.


N Brusque, V Clerc, Y Jauzion, D Traille, C Dominici, J Peyrelongue, J-B Elissalde, I Harinordoquy, O Magne, S Betsen, P Pape, F Pelous (capt), P de Villiers, W Servat, S Marconnet.

Y Bru, J-J Crenca, D Auradou, T Lievremont, D Yachvili, B Liebenberg, P Elhorga.

R De Marigny, M Bergamasco, C Stoica, M Barbini, D Dallan, R Wakarua, P Griffen, S Parisse, A Persico, A De Rossi (capt), M Bortolami, S Dellape, M Castrogiovanni, F Ongaro, A Lo Cicero.

C Festuccia, S Perugini, C Checchinato, S Orlando, S Picone, N Mazzucato, M Dallan.

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 21st, 2004 at 7:21 pm and is filed under Six Nations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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