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Italian job leaves France on the brink

FRANCE (6) v/s ITALY (2)

FRANCE remain on course for the Grand Slam after demolishing Italy with another impressive display.

Les Bleus ran in six tries in total, meaning only England stand in the way of a first Grand Slam success since 2004 when they visit the Stade de France for the final Six Nations game on Saturday night.

Two tries from David Marty and an Imanol Harinordoquy score helped Marc Lievremont’s men into a comfortable 22-3 half-time lead.

And they continued their dominance after the break with Marc Andreu, Yannick Jauzion and Alexandre Lapandry adding further tries, while scrum-half Morgan Parra kicked over 14 points.

Carlo del Fava and Pablo Cannavossio grabbed consolation tries as the Italians showed plenty of heart in a late flurry.

“Today the big thing was to win. We are very happy,” said No8 Harinordoquy. “We know it wasn’t easy to play against Italy. Generally we did what we had to do to win this match. Now the last objective is to beat England and win the Grand Slam.”

Italy coach Nick Mallett slammed his side for their poor defending, yet said he still he can’t see England denying Les Bleus at the weekend.

“It was the worst match we played for a year. We are pretty disappointed and our defence was very poor,” Mallett said. “I don’t think [France] will score tries that easily against England because we missed very simple tackles,” he added.

“But the French are a very good team, the best in this championship. They will win the Grand Slam.”