France thrash Italy to top RWC Pool A

Louis Bielle-Biarrey scores France try against Italy. Photo/Opta.
Louis Bielle-Biarrey scores France try against Italy. Photo/Opta.

France dominated Italy from the whistle and will head to the Rugby World Cup 2023 quarter-finals on the back of four impressive Pool A wins in a row, after seeing off the Azzurri 60-7 in front of a deafening OL Stadium crowd. 

There is no doubt who the first half belonged to. It took just two minutes for France to move accurately through the phases and give winger Damian Penaud the space he thrives in.

Having touched down in the left corner, Penaud soon turned provider, floating a chip for fellow wing Louis Bielle-Biarrey to run on to. Another assist, this time for full-back Thomas Ramos, followed in the 22nd minute, before Penaud wrapped up the bonus-point himself, scoring on the right touchline two minutes before half-time.

Penaud has now scored 14 tries for France this year, with his second effort taking him to 35 overall and into second place on the list of all-time French try scorers.

A late try for replacement Manuel Zuliani was as good as it got for Italy, who say goodbye to head coach Kieran Crowley on the back of two losses. In contrast, France grabbed four more tries in the second period – including a fine pair for substitute Yoram Moefana – and go to the knockout stages full of confidence.

Mastercard Player of the Match Gregory Alldritt said: “The first step is done. We are going to enjoy the weekend because it was a tough game today. We will do our recovery and this weekend and then prepare for the quarter-final.

“I am happy with the team performance. It was a 23-player game today and I am happy for everyone.”

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