Philippe Saint-Andre opened his tenure as France Coach with a solid win against Italy in a freezing Stade de France. The victory was not perhaps as easy as the score-line implies as Italy competed in all phases, but never looked as if they could breakdown the solid French defence.
At half time France led by 15-6 thanks to tries from Aurelin Rougerie and Julien Malzieu, with the second right on the break punishing Italy who had looked like going in just 4 points behind at 10-6.
The second period and again it was Italy with possession and territory, with Kris Burton making his third kick soon after the break to make it 15-9. The rest of the half was all France as a converted Vincent Clerc score and try for débutante Wesley Fofana saw France safely home and a final score of:
France 30-12 Italy
Tries: Rougerie, Malzieu, Clerc, Fofana
Pens: Yachvili 2
Cons: Yachvili 2
Pens: Burton 2, Botes
France : 15-Maxime Medard, 14-Vincent Clerc, 13-Aurelien Rougerie, 12-Wesley Fofana, 11-Julien Malzieu, 10-Francois Trinh-Duc, 9-Dmitiri Yachvili; 1-Vincent Debaty, 2-William Servat, 3-Nicolas Mas, 4-Pascal Pape, 5-Lionel Nallet, 6-Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 7-Julien Bonnaire, 8-Louis Picamoles.
Replacements:16-Dimitri Szarzweski, 17-Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18-Yoan Maestri, 19-Imanol Harinordoquy, 20- Morgan Parra, 21-Lionel Beauxis, 22-Maxime Mermoz.
Italy : 15-Andrea Masi, 14-Giovanbattista Venditti, 13-Tommaso Benvenuti, 12-Alberto Sgarbi, 11-Luke Mclean, 10-Kris Burton, 9-Edoardo Gori; 1-Andrew Lo Cicero, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini, 3-Martin Castrogiovanni, 4-Cornelius Van Zyl, 5-Quintin Geldenhuys, 6-Alessandro Zanni, 7-Robert Barbieri, 8-Sergio Parisse.
Replacements: 16-Tommaso D’Apice, 17-Lorenzo Cittadini, 18-Marco Bortolami, 19-Simone Favaro, 20-Fabio Semenzato, 21-Tobias Botes, 22-Gonzalo Canale.
Referee : Nigel Owens (Wales)
Touch judges : Andrew Small (England), John Lacey (Ireland)
TV : Graham Hughes (England)