France 36-5 Italy: England will face Les Bleus in the Autumn Nations Cup final


Try-scorer Gabin Villiere has played sevens for France but was making his international XV-a-side debut
France: (10) 36
Tries: Danty, Villiere, Serin, Thomas, Macalou; Pen: Jalibert; Cons: Jalibert 3, Carbonel
Italy: (5) 5
Try: Garbisi

England will face France in the Autumn Nations Cup final after Les Bleus comfortably beat Italy in Paris.

Missing several key players because of an agreement with the country’s Top 14 league, France fell behind after Italy’s Carlo Canna scored.

But Les Bleus recovered to earn a four-try bonus point, with debutant Gabin Villiere’s solo effort the most impressive of their scores.

France play England at Twickenham in front of 2,000 fans on 6 December.

The result leaves Scotland second in Group B, with their opponent on the final weekend most likely to be Ireland as long as Andy Farrell’s side do not suffer a heavy defeat to Georgia on Sunday.

A minute’s silence was observed before kick-off at the Stade de France after the death of French rugby legend Christophe Dominici, with a banner in the stands reading ‘Merci Domi’.

France took the lead through three points from Matthieu Jalibert but Italy soon responded as 20-year-old fly-half Paolo Garbisi, falling to the floor, managed to get the ball to Canna, allowing the centre to go over for the side’s only try.

The Top 14 agreement means players were only available for three fixtures this autumn so France coach Fabien Galthie named 11 uncapped men in his matchday 23.

They turned the tide against Italy nevertheless, as Jonathan Danty showed incredible power to drive over the line after a dominant French scrum.

Italy wing Jacopo Trulla was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on and France capitalised as wing Villiere scythed through multiple defenders to score a superb solo try.

The hosts extended their lead as captain Baptiste Serin went over from short range before Teddy Thomas outpaced Italian defenders down the right wing for the bonus-point score.

Flanker Sekou Macalou added his first international try to seal a dominant victory for France as the clock went red.

‘Maybe it is my last game’ – referee Owens

Welsh referee Nigel Owens was taking charge of his 100th Test match, becoming the first person to have reached the milestone.

The 49-year-old told Amazon Prime it was “a strange emotion” after the match and added that he did not know whether he would continue refereeing at international level next year.

“It is nice to get that century and particularly to be the first. I certainly won’t be the last,” he said.

“It’s a bit of a sad feeling as well because you realise you are getting older. Maybe it is my last game, I don’t know.

“My fitness is good so it’s difficult to step away from it. You need to bring younger referees through and I support that.

“I will sit down with the bosses and if this is my last game I respect that. Hopefully I will be involved in the Six Nations and if I am this season will be my last.”


France: Dulin; Thomas, Barraque, Danty, Villiere; Jalibert, Serin (capt); Neti, Mauvaka, Aldegheri, Geraci, Peseti, Woki, Macalou, Jelonch.

Replacements: Baubigny, Kolingar, Atonio, Cazeaux, Rebbadj, Couilloud, Carbonel, Moefana.

Italy: Minozzi; Trulla, Zanon, Canna, Sperandio; Garbisi, Violi; Fischetti, Bigi (capt), Zilocchi, Lazzaroni, Cannone, Mbanda, Meyer, Steyn.

Replacements: Ghiraldini, Ferrari, Ceccarelli, Stoian, Lamoro, Varney, Allan, Mori.

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