The returning Mathieu Bastareaud set up a try and scored one of his own as France got off the mark in the Six Nations, delivering Jacques Brunel his first win as coach with a 34-17 defeat of Italy at the Stade Velodrome.
Les Bleus had experienced less than ideal preparation for their first home Six Nations match to be played outside Paris, with a host of players dropped by Brunel following controversy surrounding a night out in Edinburgh after their loss to Scotland.
The result was a disjointed performance in which perennial tournament whipping boys Italy were never really put to bed until Hugo Bonneval crossed on the hour mark to give France an 11-point lead.
That try was in part orchestrated by Bastareaud, who returned as skipper after serving a three-week ban for use of homophobic language, and served as the high-water mark of an encounter otherwise low on inspiration.
Bastareaud added his name to the scoresheet late on by barging his way over from close range, with Italy seemingly poised for yet another wooden spoon, having lost their 15th Six Nations game in a row, a record low point.
France started brightly and needed only six minutes to open the scoring, pouncing on some Italy indiscipline as Paul Gabrillagues touched down from a rolling maul.
But Maxime Machenaud missed a relatively routine conversion and Italy promptly responded with a hugely effective maul of their own that was collapsed as they surged for the line, the TMO awarding a penalty try to the Azzurri.
Les Bleus wasted a pair of attacking openings as they sought to regain the advantage, and eventually did so as Machenaud atoned for his earlier miss following further pressure from the hosts.
Machenaud then nudged France further ahead before half-time after they forced an Italy turnover, giving them a four-point advantage at the break.
He and Tommaso Allan traded three-pointers to start the second half as Italy kept themselves within striking distance, until Bastareaud proved his quality by starting the move of the match.
The centre sucked in three Italy defenders and offloaded to Bonneval, who then combined down the left with Remy Grosso to cross, Machenaud's conversion making it 21-10.
France continued to dominate thereafter and Machenaud added two further penalties before Bastareaud powered across, with Matteo Minozzi providing late consolation for Italy after the kind of surging breakaway that the game had called out for in its quieter moments.
Key Opta stats:
- France have won all 10 of their home games against Italy in the Six Nations, those wins coming by an average margin of 18 points.
- Three of Hugo Bonneval's four tries for France have come against Italy.
- This win ended a run of eight games without a win in all competitions for France (L7, D1), their worst winless run since 1968-69 when they went 11 games without a victory.
- Luca Bigi (Italy) became the first player in the 2018 Six Nations to receive a yellow card.
- Mathieu Bastareaud scored just his fourth try in 43 Test appearances and his second against Italy, it was the first ever Test try he has scored in France.
14 de diciembre 2018
|Chargers WR Allen leaves with injury after near-spectacular catch|
|Socceroos not giving up on Mooy for Asian Cup|
|Cooper says Raiders owner wanted to trade him to Cowboys|
|Pochettino jokes Levy is ´worried´ about losing him|
|Barcelona would welcome Morata – Alba|
|Toure not a priority for West Ham – Pellegrini|
|Koscielny no certainty to face Southampton, says Emery|
|We gifted the game – AC Milan boss Gattuso furious after Europa League exit|
|My season starts now, says Koscielny|
|Cipriani ´at peace´ with latest England snub|
|Laporte: Deschamps must have personal reasons for France snub|
13 de diciembre 2018
|Morata injury not too serious, claims Chelsea boss Sarri|
|Hansen to leave: All Blacks coach returning focus to World Cup defence|
|I want to fight the champion! - Joshua reiterates Wilder in April ambition|
|Gundogan glad to leave Christmas holidays behind|
|I know how it feels and it hurts - Gundogan on Sterling abuse|
|Celtic 1 Red Bull Salzburg 2: Scottish champions through despite defeat|
|Olympiacos 3 AC Milan 1: Rossoneri crash out of Europa League|
|Arsenal 1 Qarabag 0: Lacazette on target as Saka shines|
|Hansen to leave: All Blacks will take time to name replacement|
|Chelsea condemn alleged anti-Semitic chanting from fans|
|Hansen to leave: The best Opta facts from New Zealand coach´s tenure|
|Hansen to leave: Five contenders to be the next All Blacks coach|
|Hansen to leave: Highs and highs of his All Blacks reign|
|Hansen to leave All Blacks after World Cup|
|Rapid Vienna 1 Rangers 0: Late Ljubicic winner sends Gerrard´s men out|
|Beckham continues to miss Giants practice with quad injury|
|Vidi 2 Chelsea 2: Giroud spares Sarri´s side in lacklustre draw|
|Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille fixtures among latest Ligue 1 cancellations|
|Santos turn to ex-Argentina boss Sampaoli|
|Muller could miss Champions League last 16 after Tagliafico kick|
|Home hope Bekker out in front at Alfred Dunhill Championship|
|Van Bommel in touch with Robben over PSV reunion|
|Pinarello chief confident over Team Sky future|
|Stade make Ospreys tickets free in tribute to teenager|
|WRC great Loeb seals Hyundai switch|
|Madrid rumours better than sack talk, says Pochettino|
|Nadal to join Federer at 2019 Laver Cup|
|Prigoda smashes world record, Hosszu dethroned in Hangzhou|
|Former Juve CEO Marotta takes over at Inter|
|Glenn to stand down as FA boss next year|
|Muller apologises to Tagliafico for kick to the head|
|Pereira pleads for more Manchester United chances|
|Griffin hails ´phenomenal´ Lowry after Warriors demolition|
|I´ve played with Zidane and Henry, but Messi is something else – Pires|
|Dragons forward Jack de Belin charged with sexual assault|
|Durant: Raptors are the real deal|
|Cocu bids farewell to Fenerbahce after ´mutual agreement´ is made over October sacking|
|Australia unchanged for historic Perth Test|
|Champions League draw: The possible last-16 ties|
|Southee happy to be back on home soil|
|I wouldn´t swap Dembele for Neymar – Pires|
|Canelo ready to risk heavy weather against Fielding|
|Raptors upstage Warriors, Davis leads Pelicans with 44 points|
|India skipper Kohli excited by green Perth wicket|
|PSG? I haven´t decided my future yet – De Jong|
|Marcelo: Real Madrid don´t have attitude problem|
|India pair Ashwin, Rohit ruled out of second Test|
|Kovac: Ajax-Bayern draw was amazing|
|Sims re-signs with Dragons until 2022|
|Derrius Guice injury update: Redskins RB (knee) has rehab setback, undergoes 3 more procedures|
|Emery: Arsenal could sign defender in January|
|Phillies sign McCutchen to three-year deal|
|O´Neal thinks his Lakers teams could ´easily´ beat Warriors|
|A-League to add two clubs by 2020|
|Curry says he was ´obviously joking´ about moon landing comments|
|Now the beautiful part starts – Ronaldo ready for Champions League knockout stage|
|Bayern have a lot more potential – Lewandowski not satisfied despite top spot|
|Lyon star Fekir shares plaudits for Champions League progression|
|Mourinho not surprised by United´s defeat to Valencia|