France 25 Italy 0
France made it two wins from two in this season’s RBS 6 Nations after comfortably disposing of Italy at the Stade de France today.
Following on from their 35-17 victory over Ireland last week, Bernard Laporte’s troops overcame a determined Italian side to record a 25-0 win.
Number eight Imanol Harinordoquy scored two superb tries to lift what was otherwise a flat match.
Substitute Pepito Elhorga also added a late touchdown for the French as Italy ran out of steam at the end.
That was certainly not the case for much of the match as Italy’s superb defence and their never-sy-attitude frustrated the home side for long periods.
France controlled both possession and territory but often found it difficult to turn that domination into points.
They led just 10-0 at the break and needed a moment of magic from Harinordoquy to finally the breach the Italian tryline after 23 minutes.
There was still plenty of work to do when the big number eight received possession on the near touchline with two Italians bearing down on him.
But the France vice-captain showed remarkably poise to first sidestep winger Mirko Bergamasco and then great power and athleticism to hand-off Matteo Barbini and stretch over the tryline to touch down near the corner.
Young scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde added the conversion and he also booted an early penalty to make up the first-half scoring.
Damien Traille took over the goalkicking duties at the start of the second half when France were awarded a penalty near the halfway line.
And the centre was not founding wanting, successfully converting to increase Les Bleus lead to 13-0.
Harinordoquy then again proved why he is rated as one of the best number eights in the world just after the hour mark when he scored his second try of the match.
Elissalde was back on kicking duty to slot the conversion home from a difficult angle to make it 20-0.
Harinordoquy’s try proved to be the beginning of the end for the valiant Italians as France moved up a couple of gears in the closing stages. Italy survived a couple of disallowed tries before Elhorga raced half the length of the pitch to score France’s third try in the 71st minute.
Elissalde was unable to add the conversion this time to keep France’s lead at 25-0.
Laporte’s side pushed for more scores in the closing stages but were unable to emulate the try-glut that England enjoyed against the Italians last week.