Yoann Huget scored one try and made another as he France capped off their final World Cup warm-up clash with a convincing 47-19 win over Italy at the Stade de France.
The Toulouse winger had not featured in either of the clashes with Scotland, but enjoyed a fine first half as he scored just two minutes in and then was at the heart of a French penalty try.
Despite some early indiscipline which saw them earn two yellow cards, the French showed some fluency on their way to scoring seven tries against their Guinness Six Nations rivals.
Ntamack drawing his man, putting Fofana through a massive gap. Then simply through the hands to put Huget over for the try. Ntamack conversion just wide from the touchline 5-0 after three minutes.
Good response from Italy, winning a couple of penalties and getting into position to kick to the corner. However after some extended pressure, a knock-on sees the attack come to nothing.
Their pressure did tell eventually though as France continued to concede penalties, with Louis Picamoles eventually paying the price and sent to the sin-bin. With the extra man, Italy struck immediately, Sergio Parisse taking a quick tap before sending Mattia Bellini over for the easy run-in. Tommaso Allan’s conversion gave the visitors the lead 7-5.
Things went for bad for worse for France when Rabah Slimani joined Picamoles in the bin, yellow-carded for being over-eager at the breakdown.
It seemed like the perfect opportunity for Italy to stretch their lead, but even down two men, France threw caution to the wind. Taking the ball deep in his 22, Gaël Fickou switched play and two passes later Huget found himself in space on the left. The winger saw that he had two forwards in front of him, rounded them before kicking ahead. As Bellini failed to deal with the bouncing ball, Huget nudged forward again and when the Italian winger pulled him back, he found himself joining his two French counterparts in the bin while France were awarded a penalty try.
And France were able to back that up very quickly, using their rolling maul to send Camille Chat over. Ntamack converted on this occasion to make it 19-7.
Les Bleus had another chance late in the half, but this time the Italian defence held up as they denied the hosts a fourth try before the break.
FAST START TO THE SECOND HALF
France then made the perfect start to the second half when Antoine Dupont showed his quick feet. Off scrappy ball from a maul, the scrum-half stepped Bellini and past Tiziano Pasquali to dart over on the blind side. Ntamack converted from out wide to stretch the lead to 26-7.
And another followed minutes later, Huget again at the heart of it. Ntamack spotted his winger in space on the left, played a beautiful cross-kick which Huget collected. He then offloaded to Sofiane Guitoune who raced clear. Les Bleus overcomplicated things a little from there, but kept the ball alive long enough to send it wide on the right, including a delightful pass from Slimani, to put Arthur Iturria over. Ntamack continued a fine night from the kicking tee with another conversion.
Italy had been overwhelmed but responded in unlikely fashion, Jake Polledri chipping from behind a ruck, collecting his own kick and then powering over Dupont to dot down.
On the hour France were over again, using the power of their scrum to set up a score from Wenceslas Lauret to force his way over, Ntamack again converting.
Italy kept on battling though, with Bellini crossing for his second try after good work from the forwards had opened up the space out wide.
But fittingly it was France who had the final say, Thomas Ramos doing well to scoop up a poor pass from Baptiste Serin and then racing through a gap to dot down his first Test try.