Reshuffled France see off Italy to set up England final

Fabien Galthie’s side get over poor start to run in five tries in Paris

France’s Gabin Villiere scores a try during the Autumn Nations Cup game against Italy at the  Stade de France in Paris. Photograph: Dave Winter/Inpho

France’s Gabin Villiere scores a try during the Autumn Nations Cup game against Italy at the Stade de France in Paris. Photograph: Dave Winter/Inpho

 

France 36 Italy 5

A revamped France beat Italy 36-5 at the Stade de France on Saturday to top the Autumn Nations Cup’s Group B and set up a bizarre final with England next weekend.

Following an agreement between the federation and the league, coach Fabien Galthie had to made 13 changes to his A-team and the same players will have to face England at Twickenham next Sunday.

Les Bleus, however, did the job following a poor start, scoring five tries through Jonathan Danty, Gabin Villiere, Baptiste Serin, Teddy Thomas and Sekou Macalou, the other points coming from the boots of Matthieu Jalibert and Louis Carbonel.

Galthie said France needed to adapt to the circumstances as they aim to become a major rugby nation again.

“We have a method that is very demanding for the players. Our goal is to perform quickly in a context that is not always easy to deal with, with institutions that do not always agree,” he told a news conference.

“Tonight we’re happy with the win, with the five tries. Now we have to focus on next weekend’s event against an England team who will be at full strength.”

There was a minute’s silence in memory of former France international Christophe Dominici, who died on Wednesday at the age of 48.

With five uncapped players and only two from the team who beat Scotland last weekend, France lacked cohesion and discipline.

Canna burst through the defence to put Italy ahead after Matthieu Jalibert had opened the scoring with an early penalty.

Les Bleus regained the advantage shortly before the interval when Danty touched down after being set up by Baptiste Serin from a scrum.

Jalibert converted and Les Bleus reached the break with a 10-5 lead.

France scored three tries within nine minutes between the 55th and 63rd minutes.

Winger Villiere scored at the end of a 35-metre slalom, Serin sneaked through to add his team’s third just before Thomas dived over after being set up by Brice Dulin.

Italy were down to 14 on the pitch after Jacopo Trulla had been sin-binned following an illegal tackle.

Macalou capped a decent performance with a last-second try converted by Carbonel.

With players allowed to feature on a maximum of three match sheets for the autumn tests, France will still be without the likes of scrumhalf Antoine Dupont and usual captain Charles Ollivon at Twickenham.

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