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Monday, February 04, 2013

Italy stun France with another Six Nations upset win in Rome

In one of the most entertaining opening weekend's of Six Nations rugby for some time, the best was saved for last as Italy and France battled it out at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, with the hosts taking a famous 23-18 victory.

Italy beat France for just the second time in fourteen meetings between the two sides, showing yet again that they are no longer the whipping boys of the tournament, particularly not at home.

It's been two years since Italy beat France 22-21 in Rome and this was as big an occasion as that famous day, with Sergio Parisse showing yet again why he's considered by some to be the best number eight in world rugby.

Flyhalf Luciano Orquera also had a huge game for the hosts, playing a part in tries for Parisse and Martin Castogiovanni, as well as kicking two conversions, and a penalty and a drop goal.

"I'm really happy for the team and the fans, after two years we've beaten France again in Rome," Orquera said. "We were mentally extremely strong right from the beginning, we wanted to win at any cost and we were always in the match. We never gave up."

Italy join England and Ireland on two points, while Wales and France have it all to do next weekend when they meet at the Stade de France in Paris.

"It's hard to say what went wrong, but you have to congratulate them, they started better than us," said returning French number ten Frederic Michalak, while coach Philippe Saint Andre said that they lacked precision and accuracy. 

"We didn't take advantage of our chances while we were in the lead and the Italians overtook us.

"The first half an hour was bad and the last half an hour was a catastrophe. It hurts but it's only one game. What we have to do now is concentrate on the Wales match on Saturday," he said.

Posted at 8:08 am | 32 comments

Italy shock France with upset victory in Rome

Posted in Six Nations 2013

Viewing 32 comments

Owen February 04, 2013 1:56 pm

Have to think Italy have a real chance to finish top 3 or better this year with Scotland as their next fixture.Ggood chance to build up some momentum and get some confidence within the team. I will enjoy watching them for the rest of the tournament as they play exciting rugby and especially if more wins are to come

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Guy February 04, 2013 2:10 pm

That was one hell of a game to watch, from start to finish. I used to cheer for Italy because they were the underdogs...sunday I cheered because they played some terrific rugby!

Congrats to Italy, hope to see more of this over the next few weeks.

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Colombes February 04, 2013 2:17 pm

As a french fan, i must say that i was disappointed by les bleus performance, but in the other hand, i was also really happy to see Italy deservely win.

Azzuris really improved their game since 1 year and Jacques Brunel is certainly for something in this new italian rugby. Last year match vs England and their autumn match vs Australia just show that Italia has a better strategy approach in their games.
Their first 30 minutes was a model of self-control, by trying to keep the ball and pass the ball after-contact. But the most surprising thing was their physical level. Generally, Italy cracks down in the final quarter, here they suffer but resist till the end. It's a very good news for 6N to see a stronger Italy. Times azzuris were beaten before the match even begins is definetly over. I'm sure they will win 1 another scalp in this 6N, if not two.

On France, there is a lot to say but i'm sure they didn't underestimate azzuris. It could be also the lact of efficency as France really missed 3 or 4 tries occasions... But nop, the principal conclusion for me was a general out-of-form state of many players which didn't allow them to play a more inspired game. In the 2nd half, it was blatant that some players had no legs and no solutions. Reason? I would identify two: Top14 actual hard rhythm and only a far too short week of preparation for the national squad, when all others 5 nations had 2 weeks! (Things must be sorted out with FFR)

But, whatever, everything is not dark. France is often used to slow beginnings on competions (6N or RWC). They failed and will assume it. St-André has a solid basis of players and i think this team have things to show in the following rounds. Now, they will play without pressure, as the "favourites" will be on Dublin.

Show must go on for the latins

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atrfede February 04, 2013 3:15 pm

With tries from Castro & Parisse, and many points from Orquera, Argentina beats France again!

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Lucius February 04, 2013 7:21 pm


Their blood is italian

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Lorenzo February 05, 2013 6:19 pm

What a Fantastic comment!!!!!!
All the best
Lorenzo (from Milano - Italia)

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pacovidela February 04, 2013 3:28 pm

Well done for Italy! It's funny to see that many of the best italian players are actually argentines and they love to beat France!
On the other side, Picamoles continues with his impressing performance wherever he plays.
Anyway, it's great to see Italy playing at a high level and certainly closing the gap towards the bigger rugby nations.

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stroudos February 04, 2013 3:45 pm

Brilliant result - and more importantly brilliant performance - which will benefit world rugby. The style of Italy's win complete validates their inclusion in the tourny and must surely further the case for creating a bona fide second-tier version, which personally I'd like to see feature eight teams, with the top two being promoted to the main event. can't see that ever happening to be honest, but something along those lines just seems more credible now.

By the way, it's worth noting - with all the chat about Italy finally delivering strong performances to justify their inclusion in the Six Nations - that when France joined the competition it took them at least ten years to actually be competitive. And who would argue that that wasn't worth the wait?

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Ottawa Rugger February 04, 2013 4:50 pm

What a game that was. The last five minutes were tense as any I've ever watched. Orquera was awesome, Castro was his usual self, and Parisse again showed why he's the best.

Think of what this can do for this year's 6N. We have defending champions Wales facing favourites France next weekend and both seem to have their title hopes dashed - both will have fire under their feet. Scotland vs Italy was predicted to be the wooden spoon decider but Italy of course could take it, but Scotland also has some young talent and a new coach, could be an unknown quantity. Although they lost to England I think they showed potential. And England vs Ireland in Dublin could be a title-decider. We could be in for a dramatic reversal of the expected table after the second week alone!

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HowardTheDuck February 05, 2013 6:12 pm

The upcoming weekend is gonna be epic, I can just feel it!

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cheyanqui February 04, 2013 9:10 pm

Thanks to TV5 Monde, I was able to watch this game from my home in the USA.

BBC America is only showing one match per weekend.

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joeythelemur February 05, 2013 1:59 am

Watched it online? Pay channel or free feed in the US?

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cheyanqui February 04, 2013 9:12 pm

Italy's goalkicking academy is located in Córdoba.

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FelipeG February 04, 2013 10:01 pm

Neither french nor italian but I ususally stand for both (unless they play against Belgium :-) I think it was a really weird game. Sometimes quite intense. But then so many mistakes. How many handling errors from france in the end? 15? It was already 11 after the first half! So, very nice game from Italy, but imo, this is mainly an accident.

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kadova February 04, 2013 11:07 pm

Another French here.
First thing i want to say is the Azzuris were brilliant and deserved so much to win.
I agree with Colombes about the lack of fitness and preparation due to the french domestic championship calendar/number of matches.
Anyway, the players and coaches stated thed efeat is their own fault, because of a disastrous last half-hour. At 52 min, French were ahead until Castrogiovanni scored his magnificent try.
Happy for the tournament which is more and more interesting.

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Stubby February 05, 2013 4:38 pm

Lack of fitness!? The domestic championship teams use fat players?

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Alex Bellin February 04, 2013 11:32 pm

Anyone know where I can watch a full replay of this game in the USA?

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Pipo February 05, 2013 2:29 am

Follow the link above, then click on "repeticiones". You should be able to find the game, and the other two six nations tests from last weekend. Website and commentary is in Spanish.

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Alex Bellin February 05, 2013 9:48 am

Which link?

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DrG February 05, 2013 12:27 am

Perhaps up until now, Italy have been severely missing a fly half. They've had great players in at 10 who lack in the kicking department, but Orquera seems to have a good pair of kicking boots, so maybe he's the missing key. I hope to see Italy perform with that tenacity and NOW ability in all their games this tournament. I hope for their sake they can stamp out: a) Silly penalties and b) handling errors.

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Feddderico February 05, 2013 1:08 am

Im really enjoyed the game and im really happy for the Italian win! They were so happy and showed in the game that they deserve it! Hope they continued playing like that!

Cheers from Argentina.

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Frenchie February 05, 2013 1:17 am

Italy deserves all the credit for the victory, they outplayed the French in many areas.
The French seemed slow, disorganised and made way too many mistakes.

I don't think this French selection is the best:
- why put Fofana on the wing when he plays a great rugby for Clermont as a centre?
Mermoz & Fritz are just average. I think it's time to try a young player with Fofana
- why put Huget (a winger) as full back? Butin from Clermont should play as full back, Huget on the wing.
- Scrum/Fly haf: this was the first time machenaud played with Michalak...did it wotk? I would have prefered to have parra alongside Michalak. I think Machenaud needs to learn a bit more and he would make a good substitute in 2nd half.

Another thing: the coaching was bad, the substitutions were made way too late in the game.

I have only good things to say about this Italian team. I hope they will have a very good tournament.

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FelipeG February 05, 2013 5:44 pm

No offense but I m pretty sure Machenaud - Michalak was not the first time. They played together in Autumn. And I think they showed great skill and understanding then. This time they were not to blame (not more than the rest of the team at least). I have the feeling that, beyond the general lack of stamina and precision, the french suffered mainly from the unclear situation regarding centre/wingers. Fritz can be really good, Mermoz...I m not sure.
In this context, Huget did quite a good job as full back. I like Butin, but Huget playing full back wasn't the problem here. Bad coaching indeed.
Frustrating game from France, somehow you could feel they were playing at half capacity.
I hope the italian won't rest on this victory, thinking they have done the hardest part of the job. Because clearly, they haven't. Any other VI nations team could have won against this french side.
And I hope les Bleus will take their finger out of their arses and actually catch the ball instead of losing it like they haven't slept for weeks.

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Andyloughranvet February 05, 2013 3:35 am

Ok. I have a few things to say.
1) why did he play Fofana at 14. Himself & Rougerie are playing great stuff at Clermont together & because of that week in week out playing, they know what the others going to do.
2)are we (the public) not absolutely spoiled in the 6nations for watching absolutely fantastic No 8's. I mean u go through the 6teams
Heaslip
Morgan
Parisse
Faletau
Beattie (or Denton) &
Picamoles (harinordiquoy before him)
I mean these are some serious players. As an Irishman, I'll be totally non biased & say that Parisse has to be the best with Picamoles a v close 2nd. Anyone else any opinions??

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HowardTheDuck February 05, 2013 6:22 pm

My 6N n° 8's list (best to worst):
Parisse
Picamoles/Morgan
Heaslip
Denton
Faletau

I know many will not agree with placing Faletau last, but he's just not that great in my opinion. Picamoles and Morgan are both second because I think Morgan is a beast, and becoming more and more with each match an indispensable assett in Lancaster's view of play.

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Andyloughranvet February 05, 2013 3:35 am

Ok. I have a few things to say.
1) why did he play Fofana at 14. Himself & Rougerie are playing great stuff at Clermont together & because of that week in week out playing, they know what the others going to do.
2)are we (the public) not absolutely spoiled in the 6nations for watching absolutely fantastic No 8's. I mean u go through the 6teams
Heaslip
Morgan
Parisse
Faletau
Beattie (or Denton) &
Picamoles (harinordiquoy before him)
I mean these are some serious players. As an Irishman, I'll be totally non biased & say that Parisse has to be the best with Picamoles a v close 2nd. Anyone else any opinions??

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s_conner February 05, 2013 3:28 pm

Italian decision making was much better than I've seen it for a long time - they took the points when they were on offer, were patient and generally kicked quite well, all things which they usually don't quite get right. They did, however, look a little structurally ragged at times when they ran out of steam in attack.

Nevertheless, they fully deserved their win against a disappointing French side, though they need to replicate that maturity consistently to remain competitive. I hope they can do it.

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FelipeG February 05, 2013 5:59 pm

What do you think of Picamoles getting out? I think he was one of the few french players actually doing something on the field. I guess this is very tiring, but when you have such a determined mind, I think you can go on for 10 or 20 more minutes. I have never played at that level and I don't know what it's like, but it seems to me that replacing the few players that are burning more energy is not a good idea, unless you intend to spare for the next game even if it means losing this one.

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Frenchie February 05, 2013 10:17 pm

@ FelipeG

totally agree here and some French newspaper said the same: the substitution was wrong; or too early, another negative point of the coaching.


Maybe i was harsh on Huget but why don't you bring in a real full back, a young player like Butin, move Huget to the wing, move Fofana to the centre where he's week in week out a killer?
Mermoz is not good enough, Fritz very average. The pair can only run straight, i don't think they off loaded any ball at all...
Macheneaud is good but i think Parra should start.

It is a burden to be a French supporter.

All French players told the press that they will not look for excuses, that Italy played a great game and deserved to win. Hopefully next week they will show us what they can truly do.

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FelipeG February 07, 2013 11:31 am

Well, french team against Wales : the same. With Bastareaud instead of Fritz and Suta instead of Papé...

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