France overpowered a lacklustre Italy in a scrappy Six Nations clash in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
Two Camille Lopez penalties and one from Scott Spedding gave France a 9-0 half-time lead.
Yoann Maestri and Mathieu Bastareaud scored the game’s only tries while Jules Plisson kicked two penalties and two conversions after replacing Lopez ( knee injury).
Sergio Parisse made a record 112th appearance for Italy. Italy’s problems began when Tomasso Allan, brought in at fly-half after Kelly Haimona pulled out of the match through injury, tweaked his groin in the warm-up and began the game with strapping.
He sendt the first penalty of the match high and wide, and went off after 14 minutes, to be replaced by Luciano Orquera who almost immediately struck Italy’s second penalty against the post.
France made eight changes bringing in an all-new centre pairing in Gael Fickou and Maxime Mermoz and handing Noa Nakaitaci his first cap. Spedding missed France’s first penalty kick from a difficult position but the first points went on the board in the 29th minute when Lopez kicked a penalty from halfway inside the Italian half.
Lopez kicked France further ahead and Spedding added another with the last kick off the half.
Plisson extended the French lead at the start of the second-half.
France then produced the first decent move of the match, sparked by Spedding’s run and ending with a try by Maestri, converted by Plisson. He kicked France further ahead as they took control and Bastareaud’s try, again converted by Plisson, completed the French win.
ITALY: McLean, Sarto, Morisi, Masi, Venditti, Allan, Gori, Aguero, Ghiraldini, Chistolini, Biagi, Furno, Minto, Vunisa, Parisse.
Replacements: Bacchin for Morisi (37), Orquera for Allan (13), Palazzani for Gori (72), De Marchi for Aguero (32), Manici for Ghiraldini (58), Cittadini for Chistolini (50), Geldenhuys for Biagi (50), Barbini for Parisse (74).
FRANCE: Spedding, Huget, Fickou, Mermoz, Nakaitaci, Lopez, Tillous-Borde, Ben Arous, Guirado, Mas, Flanquart, Maestri, Dusautoir, Le Roux, Goujon.
Replacements: Bastareaud for Fickou (69), Plisson for Lopez (41), Kockott for Tillous-Borde (63), Debaty for Ben Arous (57), Kayser for Guirado (53), Slimani for Mas (50), Taofifenua for Maestri (64), Chouly for Goujon (72).
Referee: JP Doyle (Ireland).