- France - Italy - rugby - Six Nations
AFP - France rebounded from their crushing defeat to England last week to run in seven tries in an impressive 50-8 thrashing of Italy at the Stadio Flaminio here on Saturday.
The hosts were confirmed as the winners of the wooden spoon with their most comprehensive defeat of a dreadful Six Nations campaign that has seen them concede 170 points in five matches and scoring only two tries.
For France Francois Trinh-Duc and Sebastien Chabal, the two primary French targets for criticism following the Twickenham debacle, were excellent.
However, it was winger Maxime Medard who took the man of the match honours with two tries.
"It was a much better match for us today (Saturday) than against England," confessed Medard.
"However, the England match is still not out of our memories but we hope that will only serve to teach us some lessons," added the back.
Italy coach Nick Mallett had said before the match that he was worried about a France reaction to last week's humiliation and it proved an accurate premonition as the visitors tore apart their hosts.
France scrum-half Morgan Parra kicked two penalties in the first quarter of an hour before Andrea Marcato pulled back three points with a penalty of his own on 23 minutes.
However, a Trinh-Duc up-and-under caused havoc in the Italy half with Yannick Jauzion out-jumping Paul Griffen to reclaim the ball.
France recycled the ball quickly and spun it out wide to icon Chabal who bundled through tackles from Griffen and Carlos Nieto, slipped and then picked himself up to charge over the line.
Parra converted for a 13-3 lead and it was the start of a six minute period that decided the match.
On 29 minutes France won good line-out ball and Parra fed Trinh-Duc who played a show and go before cutting through Italy's defence like a hot knife through butter, beating five men as he waltzed to the line.
And straight from the kick-off Parra sent another dangerous up-and-under into Italian territory with Maxime Medard pressuring Griffen into a mistake before kicking the ball into Thierry Dusatoir's hands.
The flanker didn't have the pace to make it to the line but he offloaded to Medard to score and Parra's conversion made it 25-3 at the break.
Italy resorted to running the ball from their own 22 a burst from Mirco Bergamasco got the crowd on their feet but two minutes into the second half an ill-advised grubber kick on their own 22 from his brother Mauro Bergamasco gifted Cedric Heymans an easy score under the posts.
On 55 minutes France scored again, soon after another Chabal break deep into Italy territory. From a ruck on Italy's line Thomas Domingo picked up the ball and touched down over the line for a 40-3 lead.
Italy finally gave their fans something to cheer on 57 minutes as Marcato collected his own chip ahead and offloaded to Mauro Bergamasco who fed captain Sergio Parisse to score a well-deserved try.
It was but a brief reprieve for the besieged home team as 10 minutes from time Medard scored his second try of the game in the left corner despite more than a suspicion of a forward pass in the build up.
And four minutes from time Julien Malzieu exposed a gaping hole on Italy's right to add France's seventh try of the day.