France score seven tries as they kick off Six Nations with thumping win in Italy

France scored seven tries to start their Six Nations campaign with a comprehensive 50-10 victory over Italy in Rome.

Dylan Cretin, Gael Fickou, Arthur Vincent, Brice Dulin and Antoine Dupont crossed for Les Bleus before Teddy Thomas claimed a second-half double.

Outside-half Matthieu Jalibert kicked 15 points as Italy suffered a 28th consecutive Six Nations defeat.

The Azzurri managed a late consolation try from Luca Sperandio, with Paolo Garbisi adding a conversion to his first-half penalty.

France opened the scoring in the seventh minute when Thomas’ elusive running set up an attack which ended with flanker Cretin driving over for his first Test try.

Jalibert added the conversion and then kicked a 35-metre penalty to give France a 10-0 lead after 11 minutes.

Italy were adventurous in possession and built up a head of steam for Garbisi to reduce the deficit with a 20-metre penalty.

But the Azzurri’s naivety was twice exposed by scrum-half Dupont, the player of the 2020 Six Nations tournament.

Dupont’s clever 27th-minute chip allowed Fickou to claim the simplest of scores and Jalibert added the extras.

Three minutes later Dupont hacked on a loose ball and the bounce favoured winger Gabin Villiere to collect.

Dupont was on Villiere’s shoulder to collect and he produced a superb pass under pressure to send Vincent over, with Jalibert converting again for a 24-3 lead.

Italy were given hope when Monty Ioane scampered over from Stephen Varney’s blindside break but the try was disallowed, with the scrum-half’s pass to the winger adjudged to be forward.

France claimed the bonus-point try in the 49th minute when Villiere kicked ahead for full-back Dulin to collect and Jalibert landed the touchline conversion.

Italy were slipping badly off tackles as tiredness took its toll and Thomas burst clear to find Dupont on his inside and he ran through unopposed.

Dupont returned the favour to set up Thomas two minutes later and Jalibert added a sixth conversion before Italy wing Sperandio broke down the right to give the Azzurri some cheer.

But Thomas had the final word seven minutes from time, shaking off a couple of defenders to score in the corner and bring up the half-century of points.

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