France completes its WCup warmups with 47-19 win vs. Italy
PARIS (AP) — France completed its Rugby World Cup warmup program with a confidence-boosting 47-19 win against Italy on Friday.
Right winger Yoann Huget scored the first of France's six tries after just three minutes in front of only 30,000 fans at the 80,000 capacity Stade de France, with the home side also getting a penalty try in the 24th.
France's other tries before the break came from hooker Camille Chat and scrumhalf Antoine Dupont. In the second half, lock Arthur Iturria, flanker Wenceslas Lauret and substitute fullback Thomas Ramos crossed over the line.
Flyhalf Romain Ntamack — son of former France winger Emile Ntamack — underlined his credentials for a starting place at the World Cup with five conversions.
Right winger Mattia Bellini scored two of Italy's three tries, with English-born flanker Jake Polledri getting the other. Flyhalf Tommaso Allan converted two of them.
France lost 17-14 away to Scotland last weekend, having beaten the Scots 32-3 a week before.
Three-time World Cup runner-up France begins its campaign against Argentina in Tokyo on Sept. 21, and also faces 2003 champion England, the United States and Tonga in Pool C.
After another poor Six Nations campaign under coach Jacques Brunel, former standout scrumhalf Fabien Galthié was hired as his assistant. The coaching staff has been revamped to increase player fitness, improve the tactical approach and make France a less predictable side.
Italy, meanwhile, faces a seemingly impossible World Cup task in qualifying from a Pool B containing three-time champion New Zealand — winner of the past two tournaments — and two-time World Cup winner South Africa, which won the Rugby Championship earlier this month.