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France vs Italy: The experts' view

Text by Thibault LIEURADE , Emmanuel VERSACE

Latest update : 2010-03-13

Ahead of France vs Italy on Sunday at the Stade de France, Former French international Didier Camberabero, and rugby journalists from both nations have their say on the clash that could take Les Bleus one step closer to the Grand Slam.

"There’s no way France can loose this game". Didier Camberabero (pictured), France’s fly-half between 1982 and 1991, 36 caps

"There’s no way France can loose this game. That said, I am worried about the kind match it will be for the fans at the Stade de France. Italy doesn’t pass the ball very much. They are mostly going to wait for the French team to make a mistake. I think France should win by about 20 points after quite a scrappy game. I also think that Les Bleus’ coach Marc Lièvremont made the right decision by choosing almost the same squad that beat Wales two weeks ago. The players will gain confidence from playing together again."

"Italy should hold on to the ball for the first 20 minutes." Nicolla Melillo, rugby specialist at

"There is no doubt that France has been the best team in this year’s tournament. Les Blus have recently made a lot of progress, especially because the standard in the French championship is now very high. They also have some great players, such as Jauzion and Harinordoquy. Italy’s only chance to surprise the French is if they hold on to the ball for the first 20 minutes. It will be very difficult, despite the fact that they have five or six players in fantastic form at the moment, such as Castrogiovanni or the Bergamasco brothers."

"Italy usually manages to limit the damage in Paris". Jérôme Prévôt, journalist at rugby weekly 'Midi Olympique'

"It’s clear France are the hot favourites for this game. However, Italy usually manages to limit the damage when they travel to Paris for the Six-Nations. This time, the pressure will not be on them. I also think their solid performances against England (lost 12-17) and Scotland (win 16-12) gave them some confidence. As for France, I understand Coach Marc Lièvremont’s decision not to change his squad from that which faced Wales. It’s a mark of respect to their opponent, even though Italy is a much weaker side than Wales. Nevertheless, I’m surprised Mathieu Bastareaud is on the bench... That player is dynamite!"

Date created : 2010-03-12


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