Nigel Owens makes not straight comment


Great sportsmanship from young 7's man


WIN Rugby Union Team Manager 2015!


Lee Jones makes huge trysaving tackle


Francois Hougaard's IRPA Try of the Year


Benito Masilevu's huge side-steps


Hairy f*cking Martin Castrogiovanni rant


Teddy Thomas incredible solo effort


Willem Alberts dancing alone in the gym

Sunday, February 09, 2014

France ease past Italy with comfortable win at the Stade de France

France scored three second half tries to ease past Italy with a comfortable 30-10 victory in Paris. Louis Picamoles, Wesley Fofana and Hugo Bonneval all scored within ten minutes as France showed a clinical side that they lacked in the first half.

Jean-Marc Doussain kicked France to a 9-3 lead at halftime as both sides looked fairly well matched, but in the second half France arrived, blitzing Italy with three tries in ten minutes.

Picamoles scored from a maul three minutes into the half, before Fofana sprinted down the wing for the second, then helped to set up Bonneval, who scored on debut. All three tries were converted.

Italy scored a late try through Tommaso Iannone, but the match ended on a fairly dull and sour note as two players were red carded for head butting as a scrum broke up.

Rabah Slimani and Michele Rizzo were both sent off by referee Jaco Peyper, who referred to both the TMO and touchjudge Craig Joubert for advice. Sebastien Vahaamahina was yellow carded for kicking the ball away shortly before that.

Official extended match highlights (8 minutes long) are now updated below

With players like Picamoles and Fofana making big impacts, do you think France are now serious contenders for the Championship, or is it still too early to say?

View the red cards incident (page two)

The Red Cards incident that saw two front rowers sent from the field. It's only the third time ever in the history of the Five or Six Nations that two players have been red carded.

Posted at 4:56 pm | 20 comments

Posted in Six Nations 2014

Viewing 20 comments

Phil mc avity February 09, 2014 8:17 pm

Fofana best centre in world rugby

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DrG February 10, 2014 2:08 am

One thing I loved about this game was the consistent red card call..

I was disappointed with the red cards, there was nothing in either of the contacts, but I was glad to see BOTH props got red cards and not just the one! Very disappointed by the Italian prop, I can only assume something happened to cause him to 'headbutt' in the first place, they were in a perfect position to score and they cocked it up... could have been a slightly better score for Italy..

Thought the whole incident could have been dealt with in a Nigel Owens fashion: 'You're both acting very immature.'

Hope the incident is left at just the red cards..

Just noticed next week the Wales v France match is on a Friday night - Don't remember this before???

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Kk81 February 10, 2014 2:32 am

In 2011, Wales played England on a Friday night

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DrG February 10, 2014 2:38 am

Oh right. I don't remember, do you know the reasoning behind it...

...least it's not on Valetines day (otherwise I'd be in trouble!)

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stroudos February 10, 2014 4:50 am

DrG: Thought the whole incident could have been dealt with in a Nigel Owens fashion: 'You're both acting very immature.'

Exactly. Nothing in it. Just a couple of front-rowers getting acquainted with each other. Waste of TMO time. Fortunately it was late enough in the game to not have any impact on the match itself. Can't really criticise the officials, they're just implementing the laws of the game, but give me Owens's common-sense approach any day of the week.

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DanKnapp February 10, 2014 8:29 am

I thought the two examples did serve to demonstrate the problems that referees face. The Huget/Brown incident was nothing. Two heads which made contact, but no genuine malice, just a bit of a niggle.

The Slimani/Rizzo incident was a case of two men trying to hurt each other, albeit none-too-successfully.

In the first case the referee is widely applauded for letting it go. In the second incident I though both men deserved red cards, because using the head as a weapon is a red card offence. But the difference between the two was pretty minimal... Who would want to be a referee?!

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DrG February 10, 2014 12:41 pm

To all:

Definitely can't criticise Peyper et al for the red cards, same as technically speaking Owens could of justifiably given a red card last week.. The laws are there and the referee's can interpret them, however in the Owens instance, I'd say they were interpreted very well; backed up perhaps by the lack of a citing.

This incident is 'worse' and I can see where Dan is coming from, but to me it didn't seem like they were actually trying to hurt each other. other than a 'we'll keep bashing heads to see whose is harder' way... Seemed more like a 'you shove me I'll shove you back' sort of niggle. I agree it was worse than the Huget/Brown incident, but I just think it could of perhaps been dealt with by at most 2 yellow cards - As it happens, they'd still be off for the rest of the match..

@Reality, I'll have to have another look. Like I said it seemed more likely that the French prop would start it, only because Italy were on the front foot. Very stupid from both of them though.

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flanker2712 February 10, 2014 1:59 pm

Had it just been heads, I don't think anything would have come of it, even though the last one from the French prop seem to have a decent bit of force (reminded me of a documentary of those big-horned sheep head-butting each other). What got everyone else involved was the two uppercuts from the Italian prop. By the look of the French props face, neither connected, but hard to argue that they were not really intended to hurt.

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DrG February 10, 2014 5:22 pm

Actually, I agree with you there, those two uppercuts are probably the part that set the punishment ball rolling...

You can imagine that the referees' felt they needed to punish the punches, but couldn't do so without first punishing the headbutts....and as we all know, use of the head = red...

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Reality February 10, 2014 11:31 am

DrG, I watched it with the Italian commentary and while obviouslybiased, the commentators did have a good point when they pointed out that it was actually the French player who gave the first little headbutt, then the Italian gave him back a harder one, and then the French one gave him back an even harder one. I think it was only the final replay that went back far enough to show it. It was the one from the side and kind of far away.

But in any case, I'd say it was stupid from both players, regardless of who started it.

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Oliver February 10, 2014 10:00 am

well saying les Bleus are unpredictable is a bit of a rugby cliche, but this French team actually seems to turn it on and off within the same game!
I dont know whether that's reassuring (they can score whenever they want) or worrisome (they can fall apart anytime).
I mean, I was quite worried after that first half...and then 3 tries in 10 minutes.
It was the same in reverse against England: brillant start, followed by much struggling, then finally a try when it counts.

About Italy: I thought Orquero looked more dangerous than Allan.

The one thing I'll remember about this game: that last try. superb running and passing.

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s_conner February 10, 2014 12:11 pm

This match has drawn me towards two conclusions; France can win this tournament if they can work out how to put in a full 80 minute performance, and Italy should be favourites to beat Scotland next time out.

I thought the Azzurri actually played well enough for the score to be closer, but lacked the star power and cutting edge to turn their territory into points. Garcia looked weak in the centre and Allen didn't play well, but the pack worked very hard (the prop was awesome), and the wingers looked alright. Orquera should start as he kicked an excellent conversion and ran hard at the line to get his runners going once he came on.

One last point, Parisse isn't what he once was.

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flanker2712 February 10, 2014 2:03 pm

That conversion was a beauty!

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Frenchie February 10, 2014 7:15 pm

@ Reality :
of course a bias Italian commentator would think that the French did start…sure...

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Reality February 11, 2014 12:57 pm

Well, he did use the replay as evidence to show that it was the French player who headbutted first. The commentators might be biased but the video evidence isn't, and it demonstrated exactly what the commentators said. But if Rizzo was stupid enough to headbutt him back, then it's his fault too.

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marty February 10, 2014 10:23 pm

I thought i've seen one or two punches thrown by Rizzo though... Anyways, France's got a good 10 on wich to build for the wolrd cup. I really like the way plisson defended, at one point in the game, he was the leader for tackles made. Plisson and Trinh-Duc is pretty good!

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themull February 11, 2014 11:59 am

Apart from the two tries France really didn't impose themselves on the game at all.>italy were bashing away at the line or the lions share of teh second half and a more creative/clinical team would have beaten France comfortably..in saying that, they've got 2 wins from two and if they can manage to beat Wales away next round they'll be huge favourites to take home the slam..

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Eddie-g February 11, 2014 10:25 pm

Once they went to the TMO, I don't think the refs had any choice but to show reds. But I do hope that the reds are regarded as sufficient punishment, and generally far preferable when the punishment is meted out during the game.

Not a great weekend of 6N games overall, hope we can look forward to better.

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DrG February 12, 2014 6:20 pm

2 weeks ban for each. Sadly not just left at the reds which I agree should have been sufficient.

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alasdair February 13, 2014 2:51 am

hate to say it but France hasn't been properly tested yet. For all the" might and Glory of England", France didn't have to try too hard to beat them. Italy were never going to come back from these three quick tries. If Wales click, it might make it interesting, but I think the really interesting one will be the France Ireland game And Ireland look well up for it.
Predictions for the end of the TOurnament.

1)Ireland
2)France
3)Wales
4) England
5) Italy
6)Scotland

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