Saturday, March 12, 2011
Italy rewrote the history books this weekend, coming from 18-6 down to claim a 22-21 victory and their first ever win over France in the Six Nations.
The Stadio Flaminio was in full voice as winger Mirco Bergamasco slotted a 76th minute penalty to seal the pulsating victory and condemn their continental cousins to a humbling defeat.
Bergamascos goal kicking has come under a lot of scrutiny during this years Six Nations, yet he was the man of the hour, landing six out of his eight kicks and holding his nerve to clinch a difficult match winner.
Italian captain Sergio Parisse was at the fore for the home side, although the Azurris success was certainly built on some sloppy French play. Marc Livremont's team were ineffective going forward and sloppy with ball in hand; of which Aurelien Rougeries knock-on over the line being the worst.
Winger Vincent Clerc gave the visitors an early lead with a superb score, and scrum-half Morgan Parra added a simple penalty. Bergamasco reclaimed six points, but when Parra secured a second penalty and converted his own try to make it 18-6 early in the second half, things looked bleak for the Azurri.
Yet Italy dug-deep and hit back with a try through full-back Andrea Masi. France huffed and puffed yet couldnt overcome a resolute Italian effort which eventually set up the platform for Bergamasco to rewrite the record books with his foot.
The historic win was an emotional one for Nick Mallett. "We're working and improving all the time, I've stuck with the same group over the last three years," the Italian head coach said.
"I've got a great captain in Sergio Parisse - he's been a lone figure over the last four years, but he's now playing with a team where he just has to do his part - today we had 15, 22 players all playing their parts. I am very proud of my players' performance and it's one of the proudest moments as coach."
Meanwhile, France coach Marc Livremont was left seething at his team's sloppiness: "We have to congratulate the Italians because from the first minute to the last minute they were better than us" he said. "This is yet another disappointment and yet another huge disillusionment."
Thanks to the BBC