The game: 37-10
Long feverish and clumsy, the fifteen of France ended up winning with the offensive bonus, Saturday at the Stade de France, for the opening of its Six Nations Tournament, while, the day before, Ireland had outclassed the country of Wales (29-7) and Scotland beat England (20-17) in the wake of a magnificent attacking trio, Russell-Van der Merwe-Graham. Somehow, France won with five tries on the clock by accelerating at the end of the match. Considering his lack of fluidity for more than an hour, that’s the main thing at this stage of the competition.
Penalized on the ground (5 penalties after only 25 minutes), annoyed by the try conceded in the 18th minute, uninspired, the Habs had to wait until the very end of the first period to finally find the solution in the game. It came from a double desire to seek penalties near the opposing in-goal rather than attempting penalties and it was the right choice. After a first unsuccessful attempt ending with a low pass which was not necessary (38th), the second found its resolution at the end of the line after two millimeter passes from Ntamack and Fickou to shift the arrow Gabin Villière (40th + 1) .
The test refused to Jonathan Danty (43rd) does not cool France, quite the contrary. On a well-executed recovery on the ground, Grégory Alldritt launched Gabin Villière flush for a spectacular double (49th, 23-10) which freed the spirits, a welcome test to erase the first forty minutes of blue mush. Damian Penaud almost scored (60th) but he missed the pass at the foot of Ntamack. Game postponed: the Clermont winger improved a magnificent action initiated by Moefana and relayed by Dupont by diving into a corner (68th) for the bonus test, finally …
Then it was Gabin Villière’s turn to conclude this foul-mouthed match in the best possible way, with a sparkling hat-trick (80th + 2), this French team not wanting to leave the Saint-Denis enclosure without leaving a good impression on his supporters. Now, captain Antoine Dupont’s Habs have six days to regain the momentum they had in November when they overcame the All Blacks, and refine the settings to receive Ireland properly on Saturday (5:45 p.m.), at St Denis.
Italy scored their first try in the 18th minute.
The player: Gabin Villière, a hat-trick of a pure winger
Native of Calvados and trained in Rouen, Gabin Villière (26 years old, 1.80 m, 93 kg) started center in 2019 with France 7 before signing in Toulon. Selected with the fifteen of France from 2020 has always started on the wing. Against Italy, he scored a hat-trick which brings his total in blue to six tries in 8 selections. First by a corner dive, well offset on the pass, which allowed France to create a small gap just before the break (40th + 1). Then by an individual feat, recovering the ball from Grégory Alldritt at the level of a ruck to feint the kick to follow thirty meters from the Italian in-goal then achieve a frame-overflow of school in order to open the way to the test of an irresistible acceleration. And finally again in overflow (80th + 2) to conclude this match in the best way after a great collective effort.
Gabin Villière, after scoring his third try of the afternoon. (A. Mounic/The Team)
The fact: The Tricolores stammer for forty minutes during
Admittedly, Antoine Dupont’s teammates had not played together for three months, but that was valid for all the other nations in the Tournament. Neither that nor the rain can excuse the French approximations during the first forty minutes. With the exception of an interception by Anthony Jelonch for his try (26th), the rest was only clumsiness, bad choices, faults on the ground, kicking game against game. Abusing axial percussion, determined to use his power , the fifteen of France stumbled on the Italian defense until the break.