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Italy vs. France: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2015 Six Nations Round 4

Published by Bleacher Report on Sun, 15 Mar 2015

France recorded an ugly 29-0 over Italy at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome during Sunday's Six Nations fixture, as Round 4 of this year's tournament came to an underwhelming conclusion.Inclement weather and a very greasy pitch made for a horrible game of rugby, although neither side was able to put together anything of note to get fans buzzing during the first half. Former rugby star Will Greenwood didn't mince his words:The first real chance of the match fell to the hosts, as the Italians did well on the line-out and Bernard Le Roux strayed offside. Tommaso Allan, who seemed to have pulled his hamstring during the warm-upand was seen limping in the opening minutes of the match, pulled his kick high and wide.The Azzurri did a fine job controlling the field with their kicking, but a plethora of mistakes saw them too often lose the ball in promising positions. Les Bleus didn't fare any better, as the wet ball looked more like a bar of soap every time players clashed.Even professionals from other sports, such as former cricketer Robert Croft, couldn't help but point out the low quality of Sunday's match:Allan was replaced by Luciano Orquera after just 13 minutes, and he announced his arrival by missing his first penalty chance, hooking wide with a powerful kick. Scott Spedding suffered the same fate with his first attempt.It took 28 minutes for either team to get on the board, as Camille Lopez finally connected with a penalty from halfway inside Italian territory. The Italians had been the better team up until that point, but Lopez proved to be the more reliable kicker in difficult conditions.Orquera had a chance to tie things up minutes later, but his kick fell well short, and another conversion from Lopez soon made it 6-0. Meanwhile,BreatheSport was trying to find new ways to keep its followers entertained:France were starting to take control of the match, and while there were still plenty of poor passes to scoff at, it seemed the visitors could go on a scoring run any minute. Lopez added a third penalty conversion before half-time to bring the score to 9-0, but fans were hardly excited.Professional musician Gilbert Vierich noticed even the commentators and pundits had little to add:Rugby World were struggling at half-time:The visitors came out with intensity to start the second half and were immediately rewarded, as Jules Plisson booted a long kick to make it 12-0. Three minutes later, Yoann Maestri scored a wonderful try, as Spedding made good ground before offloading to the wide man.The tournament's official Twitter feed finally had something to be excited about:Suddenly, the French scrum seemed to have found its groove, and the Italians were struggling to keep the visitors at bay. Plisson, who replaced Lopez at half-time, had no difficulty whatsoever making it 22-0 with another penalty, and the Italy fans started to fear the rout was on.But just as quickly as their momentum had risen, it fell once again. A 22-point lead against a toothless Italian squad was a pretty safe one, and the French seemed more than happy to work the ball around and run out the clock.Near the end of the match, the BBC's official broadcast showed a total of 37 handling errors, nearly one every two minutes. BTSportanalyst and former rugby star Austin Healey fears for Italy's fate when they play Wales:France added one more late try, as Mathieu Bastareaud held the ball when the French scrum worked its way over the line.Speaking to the event's official websitebefore the match, France manager Philippe Saint-Andre said he knew his players were going through a slump and wanted them to just go out and play the game:We need to get out of this rough patch, that is for sure. Let's play some rugby, believe in ourselves, not be afraid, enjoy, tackle, move the ball around. We will go to Italy with all these intentions. We have quality players, and they will prove their worth on the pitch. Our squad is made of great professionals, they know they have to do better. We trust them, they are focused, and I know they will perform on Sunday.Speaking to the BBC after the match, he acknowledged the performance wasn't top notch, but he was still happy with the win:It was an OK performance after two tough weeks. We were strong in the contact area, had a good set-piece, and scored two good tries. Of course we can do better but after what happened two weeks agoour result against Wales, and Italy beating Scotlandwe are pleased with the result.The conditions hardly allowed the French to be at their best, but after a sloppy first half, Les Bleus showed signs of life in the second half.With the team heading toTwickenham for their final match against an England side looking for a big win to boost their points difference, picking up momentum was vital, and while Sunday's win wasn't pretty, it should do the trick.The Italians host Wales in their final match and will pray pitch conditions have improved by then. Like England, the Welsh can still win this year's Six Nations, but they'll need a minor miracle to do so. Expect to see plenty of attacking rugby early.Follow @ReverschPass
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