Match Report


France remain on course for a Grand Slam showdown with England after a commanding 38-15 win over Italy in Paris.

Four tries in the first half and two in the second saw Les Bleus make it three wins from three matches at the Stade Jean Bouin in Paris.

Nassira Konde set the tricolore waving inside two minutes before teammates Annaëlle Deshaye, Charlotte Escudero and Mélissande Llorens all crossed, while Italy’s solitary first-half points arrived from the boot of Beatrice Rigoni.

Assia Khalfaoui and Madoussou Fall touched down to seal victory while Italy had their moments courtesy of two fine scores from wing Alyssa D’Inca.

Victory leaves France just a point adrift of England ahead of their trip to Wales next Sunday, while fourth-placed Italy will be eyeing a return to winning ways when Scotland visit Parma in Round 4.

It took just two minutes for France to hit the front as props Deshaye and Khalfaoui combined to carry their team just a few metres short of the whitewash.

France had numbers wide to the left but centre Konde spotted a gap in a jagged and desperate covering defence and stepped inside to touch down.

Italy responded well and their maul was causing the hosts some problems.

Twice they were thwarted from close range though, the first turnover nearly resulting in a remarkable France breakaway try.

No.8 Ilaria Arrighetti was then penalised with the line in sight before captain Rigoni decided enough was enough, kicking a simple three-pointer to record Italy’s first points at the midway point of the half.

Back came France and their lead was extended after a brilliant team move. After Konde forced a turnover, tighthead Khalfaoui was again barging her way towards the line before another fine offload to front-row colleague Deshaye.

The loosehead pinned her ears back and showed exceptional pace and power to make it to the whitewash, holding off two defenders before dotting down for a memorable score.

It was then one-way traffic before the half was out, with flanker Escudero bulldozing through for a third try on the half-hour mark, capping her return to the starting XV in style.

Wing Llorens then put the seal on a fine first 40 for the hosts, gathering Lina Queyroi’s pinpoint cross kick to dot down in the corner on her first international appearance of 2024.

The second half started as the first finished with France doing all the probing. After a TMO check for double movement, Khalfaoui was cleared of any wrongdoing as France registered their fifth try just three minutes into the second period.

Italy, to their credit, kept playing and were awarded with a superbly worked try for wing D’Inca.

From a close-range scrum, they shaped for a move out the back but Rigoni hit D’Inca on the short line and she danced her way to the line for her seventh international try.

But the game was made safe after second row Fall powered over from the back of a lineout on 63 minutes.

A raft of replacements took the flow out of the game but there was still time for one more score, and it was a memorable one for the lively D’Inca, who scorched round the outside of the France defence for a late consolation try.

France, though, will be happy enough with their five points, as they target a Championship decider with England Stade Chaban-Delmas in Round 5.