France finished their Six Nations campaign with a seven-try 50-8 rout of Italy in Rome.
Although there can be no comparison between the level of opposition, France lifted their performance exponentially after their diabolical showing against England last week. They dominated every facet of play and their forwards laid the platform for their backline to play an expansive game.
Italy simply had no response to France’s physicality and as a result were always second best at the breakdown, where France turned over on countless occasions. In addition, it didn’t help Nick Mallett’s charges that they were struggling at scrum time – a facet of play they’ve relied on heavily to remain relatively competitive with superior opposition.
Robbed of that attacking platform and with goal kicker Andrea Marcato struggling in windy conditions, one failed to see where their points would come from.
The match was effectively over by half-time, with tries by Sebastien Chabal, Francois Trinh-Duc and Maxime Medard, as well as two penalties by Morgan Parra, taking France down the tunnel with a 25-3 lead.
It got worse immediately after the break when Cedric Heymans capitalised on an error by Mauro Bergamasco to compound their pain. Italy botched a series of good opportunities and France made them pay, scoring through William Servant.
Italy did pull a try back through the sole Italian stand out, Sergio Parisse – a brilliant move which featured some deft handling. But that was the height of the joy as Medard grabbed his second and Julien Malzieu finished the mauling.