Fancied France stunned as Italy toast shock win

ITALY 23 vs FRANCE 18

CAPTAIN Sergio Parisse believes Italy have given their credibility an enormous shot in the arm by inflicting a huge upset on RBS Six Nations favourites France in Rome yesterday.

Parisse and Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni scored the tries and replacement Kris Burton a decisive drop-goal as the Azzurri repelled a French fight-back spurred by Louis Picamoles and Benjamin Fall scores.

Italy’s astonishing victory was their second in succession on home soil against France, but only their third of all time and far more convincing than the 22-21 triumph in 2011.

“We are really happy with the victory,” said Parisse. “We talked a lot about our ambition as a team before the tournament, but when you talk and you don’t get the result, you don’t have any credibility.

“Today, we have won against France, a team that played very well in November. For us, it is a fantastic beginning to the Six Nations. I think we really deserved the win.”

After Parisse and Picamoles had traded tries, Luciano Orquera’s kicks nudged the hosts ahead, only for Fall and the boot of Frederic Michalak to give France an 18-13 half-time lead.

But Castrogiovanni reasserted Italy’s dominance and Burton’s kick extended the advantage.