France kick off Six Nations tournament with tonic victory over Italy

·2-min read

France started their Six Nations campaign with a seven-try 50-10 bonus-point victory over Italy in Rome on Saturday. France, looking for their first title since 2010, play Ireland in Dublin next weekend with Italy heading to England.

'Les Bleus' provisionally take top spot in the tournament before the second match between champions England and Scotland at Twickenham later.

"We scored seven tries. We were efficient. Obviously we have things to improve on," said French coach Fabien 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" Galthie said looking ahead to next weekend.

Toulouse scrum-half Antoine 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.

Italians on losing streak

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.

Meanwhile, England open their pursuit of a second Six Nations title in five months with a showdown against their oldest rivals Scotland later on Saturday, while Wales host Ireland in Cardiff on Sunday.