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Monday, February 06, 2012

France start Six Nations campaign with solid win over spirited Italy

France opened their 2012 Six Nations campaign with a convincing 30-12 win over Italy at the Stade de France on Saturday. One of the highlights of the game was a fantastic try scored by winger Julien Malzieu, while debutant Wesley Fofana also crossed.

New France head coach Philippe Saint-André saw his side score four tries past their continental cousins, although the Italians performed valiantly in the tight – dominating possession and territory for most of the match.

The French backs proved too difficult for the Azzurri to contain, with tries scored by centres Fofana and Aurélien Rougerie, as well as wingers Malzieu and Vincent Clerc. Scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili added 10 points from the boot.

Whereas Les Bleus capitalised on all of their opportunities, the Italians were unable to finish off a series of promising attacks and will have to improve before next week’s fixture against Scotland.

Despite his side’s convincing performance, Saint-André said that there was room for improvement:

"It's good to win but there is a lot of room for improvement; the glass is half full and half-empty," the former France winger said.

"We should gain more possession, we lacked aggression, especially at the beginning. As a coach, you seek perfection but today you saw great defence, good discipline and we even scored four tries.

"Up front we could have performed better. We lacked aggressiveness at the start of match in clearing out and as for taking the game to them, we did some things of quality but we were often guilty of failing to finish them off well.

"But It's a first victory, so you have to have a smile," he said.

What, or who, impressed you most in this match? Leave a comment below to let us know.

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