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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.

Posted by Rugbydump at 7:35 am | View Comments (13)

Viewing 13 comments

patedelievre February 06, 2012 11:17 am

look at how TrinhDuc kicks the ball the second time on Clerc's try: amazing skill!!!
3 days of preparation really isn't enough at this level for the French. I wish Club Presidents were a bit less gready and let their players at least half as much time as the other nations...we'd break every team by 10!

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SpencaH February 06, 2012 11:54 am

Bringing on Imanol and Para as subs at 60mins says it all........they would not only start for most teams, they would be the talisman. Compare England with 5 debutants....depth a big concern!

Sadly it looks like it's the Frenchies tournament to lose.

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Colombes February 06, 2012 12:45 pm

i was at the stadium. it was bloody freezing!
france did the job by scoring their occasions, and in a pretty good way with malzieu. but they were also sloppy on the touch throwings and debaty had clearly difficulties vs castrogiovanni. good to watch fofana making his debut with a try, the first of a long list
despite this defeat italy weren't bad, they tried to produce game with a slot of short assists but in a very stereotypical way

can't find any favorites for this 6N

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6ManLineout February 06, 2012 2:21 pm

Does Rougerie knock-on the ball for Vincent Clerc's try? Doesn't matter, just interested to know whether he kicks it with his knee (a knock-on I understand) or if it's a legitimate kick.

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patedelievre February 06, 2012 3:09 pm

anything below the waist isn't a knock-on, is it? coz he kicks it with his knee...

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6ManLineout February 06, 2012 3:21 pm

It used to be a knock-on was from shoulders to knees inclusive. So, I think it is a knock-on. As I said, not relevant in the scheme of things.

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Yorffeo February 06, 2012 4:55 pm

As far as I know, it is not a knock on when with the knee

"A knock-on occurs when a player loses possession of the ball and it goes forward, or when a player hits the ball forward with the hand or arm, or when the ball hits the hand or arm and goes forward, and the ball touches the ground or another player before the original player can catch it.
‘Forward’ means towards the opposing team’s dead ball line."

My other question
If Clerc had been in front of Rougerie(which I am pretty sure he was not) would he have been off side or is this open play and this does not apply (as the ball was pushed forward with a legit part of the body)?

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Eggman February 06, 2012 4:58 pm

Had Clerc been infront of him, it would have been offside.. The knee knock is the same as a kick, thus players in front of the "kickers" are not allowed to touch the ball.

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Yorffeo February 06, 2012 5:09 pm

Thx Mr. Egg

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Sankeor February 07, 2012 12:48 am

I think you can even hit the ball with your head, it's not a knock-on.
As Yorffeo wrote, knock-on is only with the hand or arm.

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rotaman February 06, 2012 3:24 pm

Hi all
it's not a knockon if you kick it with the knee. The try is legit. Amazing skill from Trind-huc kicking it forward with his heel, crazy. Good to see Malzieu back on the French squad - amazing player as demonstrated by his try.

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Antoine February 07, 2012 1:51 pm

The finishing of the Malzieu's try reminds me of the try Heymans scored against New Zealand in 2009.

Heymans leaves Muliaina for dead :

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