Seven-try France thrash Italy to make Six Nations statement
By AFP 31m ago
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ROME – Antoine Dupont sparked France to a seven-try 50-10 bonus-point victory in their Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome on Saturday.
Dupont touched down and had a role in four other tries with Teddy Thomas dotting down twice as last year's runners-up dominated a young Azzurri side.
Les Bleus provisionally take top spot in the tournament before the second match between champions England and Scotland at Twickenham later.
Fabien Galthie's side strolled in a sun-drenched Stadio Olimpico against the weakest team in the tournament who are without a win since 2015.
France, looking for their first title since 2010, play Ireland in Dublin next weekend with Italy heading to England.
"We scored seven tries. We were efficient. Obviously we have things to improve on," said Galthie.
"We're in a good place. We need a good week to prepare because Sunday it's Ireland in Dublin, it's not the same atmosphere."
Toulouse scrum-half Dupont, the Six Nations player of the tournament last year, was outstanding, winning man of the match for his role.
The 24-year-old scored a try on 53 minutes after delivering assists, including a low kick at the exit of the maul which found Gael Fickou after 24 minutes.
Dupont went off after the hour with the match already wrapped up 45-3 after a fifth Matthieu Jalibert conversion.
Bordeaux-Begles fly-half Jalibert did well in the absence of Romain Ntamack, who is out with a fractured jaw, converting six tries, and an 11th-minute penalty.
Dylan Cretin and Arthur Vincent both scored their first tries for France.
Thomas burst through the Italian defence after six minutes with Lyon flanker Cretin going over for his first international try.
Dupont sent through for the onrushing Fickou to pick up the ball to score France's second try after 27 minutes with Vincent getting the third three minute later.
France added four tries after the break through Dulin (49), Dupont(53) and Thomas (56, 74).
Winger Monty Ioane crossed for Italy after 33 minutes but the try was ruled out because of Stephen Varney's forward pass.
Italy nevertheless saved face a quarter of an hour from the end thanks to Luca Sperandio, which Paolo Garbisi converted, the fly-half having also scored a 20th-minute penalty.
The Azzurri extended their Six Nations losing streak to 28 matches.