France crush Italy to reach World Cup last eight

6 months ago 111
Damian Penaud of France celebrates scoring his sides fourth try with team mates Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Thomas RamosThomas Ramos (right) scored 20 points for France with hands and boot in this crushing victory
France: (31) 60
Tries: Penaud 2, Bielle-Biarrey, Ramos, Jalibert, Mauvaka, Moefana 2 Pens: Ramos, Jaminet Cons: Ramos 6, Jaminet
Italy: (0) 7
Tries: Zuliani; Cons: Allan

France cruised to top spot in Pool A at the World Cup as they beat Italy 60-7.

The hosts faced elimination if they had lost but put any nerves to bed in Lyon with 31 unanswered points in the first half, going on to score seven tries for a bonus-point victory.

France advance to the quarter-finals unbeaten and ahead of New Zealand in the group stage rankings.

They will face the runners-up from Pool B - South Africa, Ireland or Scotland - on 15 October.

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The tone was set inside two minutes when France proved too strong and quick for Italy to work the ball through the hands out to the left wing where Damian Penaud scored his first of two tries.

Full back Thomas Ramos was also in unstoppable form with the boot, converting that try before slotting a penalty from halfway.

Louis Bielle-Biarrey again got the nod over Gabin Villiere on the left wing and showed why by collecting a perfect box kick from Ramos before jinking around three men to touch down on 13 minutes.

Ramos himself scored the third try after running from deep to finish an excellent cross-field move, and the bonus point was secured before half-time when Penaud scored his second try, set up by a brilliant kick to the right wing under pressure by Matthieu Jalibert.

Jalibert continued the scoring after half-time, selling the Italian defence with a dummied pass before leaving white shirts trailing on the floor as he touched over, while try number six came from hooker Peato Mauvaka following a line-out.

Replacement back Yoram Moefana brought up the half century and scored the final two tries, both after superb moves from France that crossed the width of the pitch, while Manuel Zuliani crossed for Italy whose sole comfort was avoiding a shutout.

More to follow.

Final Pool A table at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, with France first and New Zealand second

Matthieu Jalibert celebrates scoring France's fifth tryMatthieu Jalibert resumed the scoring after the half-time break as France blew Italy awayDamian Penaud celebrates scoring a try for FranceDamian Penaud is fast closing in on Serge Blanco's record for the most tries scored for FranceFrance fans celebrate their team beating ItalyFrench fans were in great voice all night in Lyon and were treated to a spectacular victory

Line-ups

FRANCE: Thomas Ramos; Damian Penaud, Gael Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Louis Bielle-Biarrey; Matthieu Jalibert, Maxime Lucu; Cyril Baille, Peato Mauvaka, Uini Atonio; Cameron Woki, Thibaud Flament; Anthony Jelonch, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Alldritt

Replacements: Pierre Bourgarit, Reda Wardi, Dorian Aldegheri, Romain Taofifenua, Francois Cros, Baptiste Couilloud, Yoram Moefana, Melvyn Jaminet

ITALY: Ange Capuozzo; Pierre Bruno, Juan Ignacio Brex, Paolo Garbisi, Montanna Ioane; Tommaso Allan, Stephen Varney; Simone Ferrari, Hame Faiva, Pietro Ceccarelli; Niccolo Cannone, Federico Ruzza; Sebastian Negri, Michele Lamaro, Lorenzo Cannone

Replacements: Marco Manfredi, Federico Zani, Marco Riccioni, David Sisi, Manuel Zuliani, Alessandro Fusco, Luca Morisi, Lorenzo Pani

Referee: Karl Dickson (England)

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