Orquera has Azzurri off to 'fantastic beginning'


Italy captain Sergio Parisse last night hailed a “fantastic beginning” for his team in the Six Nations Championship after they stunned tournament favourites France in Rome.

Italy’s 23-18 success at Stadio Olimpico blew the competition wide open, with France and reigning Six Nations champions Wales both beaten on the opening weekend.

“We are really happy with the victory,” try-scorer Parisse said on BBC1. “We talked a lot about our ambition as a team before the tournament, but when you talk and you don’t get the result you don’t have any credibility.

“Today we have won against France, a team that played very well in November. For us it is a fantastic beginning to the Six Nations.

“We kept the ball for a lot of phases, and I am really happy because we played together so much.”

Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni scored the decisive try of a thrilling encounter, but Italy outhalf Luciano Orquera ran the show majestically. Orquera kicked a drop-goal, two conversions and a penalty before his replacement Kris Burton’s late drop-goal saw the Azzurri beat France for a second successive occasion on home soil.

France conjured first-half tries for number eight Louis Picamoles and wing Benjamin Fall, with Frederic Michalak slotting two penalties and a conversion, but they could have few complaints about the result. France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said: “We had control of the game when we were five points in front, but we lost the ball too many times and were not precise.”

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