Ahead of this Sunday’s tussle in Italia between the host nation and their neighbours of France, I thought that I’d compile the following piece. The French have been paying rugby union visits to their southern neighbour of Italy since the early 1950s. Here is a reminder of the fifteen contests thus far on Italian soil between the two nations, only two of which were won by the hosts.
17th of May 1952: Italy 8 FRANCE 17; at Milan
In the final of the European Cup, so-called, the French bounced back from a five points to three interval deficit, winning this contest with three tries to one.
24th of April 1954: Italy 12 FRANCE 39; at Rome
This was another ‘European Cup’ final in which the French outscored their hosts by seven tries to two, with their captain Jean Prat converting six of the tries.
2nd of April 1956: Italy 3 FRANCE 16; at Padova
This match was deadlocked at three-three at the halfway stage. However, it ended up as a comfortable win for the visitors. Lucien Roge scored two tries.
7th of April 1958: Italy 3 FRANCE 11; at Naples
Bernard Mommejat recorded a try on his debut. Pierre Danos also grabbed a try, while Michel Vannier kicked five points for the victorious away team.
17th of April 1960: Italy 0 FRANCE 26; at Treviso
Louis Casaux helped himself to a brace of tries. There were also try-scoring efforts from Sylvain Meyer and Henri Rancoule in this comfortable rout of the Italians.
22nd of April 1962: Italy 3 FRANCE 6; at Brescia
All the points came in the first forty minutes. Lanfranchi and Boniface kicked penalties for Italy and France respectively. It was a try from Saux that proved to be decisive.
29th of March 1964: Italy 3 FRANCE 12; at Parma
Martini dropped a goal in the second half, but it was merely a consolation as France obtained six points in each half. Pierre Abaladejo kicked three penalties.
9th of April 1966: Italy 0 FRANCE 21; at Naples
This was yet another crushing win for the away team. However, while Italy had yet to record a win, France meanwhile had yet to achieve a Five Nations grand slam.
3rd of March 2001: Italy 19 FRANCE 30; at Rome
The match was finely poised at 14-9 to France at the interval, but they eventually stretched their lead. The accurate Christophe Lamaison converted each of their three tries.
23rd of March 2003: Italy 27 FRANCE 53; at Rome
The French amassed forty-one points in the first forty minutes. They ended up with seven tries, six of which were converted by the lethal Dimitri Yachvili.
19th of March 2005: Italy 13 FRANCE 56; at Rome
The winger Kaine Robertson scored a first-half try for Italy, but his team were then blown away. Debutant David Marty grabbed two of France’s seven tries.
3rd of February 2007: Italy 3 FRANCE 39; at Rome
In spite of Ramiro Pez’s first-half penalty, France were already 22 points to 3 ahead at half time. Sebastien Chabal recorded two of the visitors’ five tries.
21st of March 2009: Italy 8 FRANCE 50; at Rome
France’s points were equally divided in each half. The flying Maxime Medard helped himself to two of their seven tries. Sergio Parisse scored a consolation try for Italy.
12th of March 2011: ITALY 22 France 21; at Rome
Italy trailed 18-6 when a converted Andrea Masi try sparked a famous comeback. Mirco Bergamasco then slotted three penalties to seal an historic first win.
3rd of February 2013: ITALY 23 France 18; at Rome
In a case of deja-vu, Italy trailed 18-13 until a converted Martin Castrogiovanni try halfway through the second half. The replacement Burton then added a decisive drop goal.