ITALY
NO.NAME
15Jayden Hayward, FB
14Edoardo Padovani, W
13Marco Zanon, C
12Luca Morisi, C
11Angelo Esposito, W
10Tommaso Allan, FH
3
9Tito Tebaldi, SH
T
1Andrea Lovotti, P
2Leonardo Ghiraldini, H
3Tizano Pasquali, P
4David Sisi, L
5Federico Ruzza, L
6Braam Steyn, FL
7Jake Polledri, FL
8Sergio Parisse, N8
Replacements
16Luca Bigi, R
17Cherif Traore, R
18Simone Ferrari, R
19Alessandro Zanni, R
20Sebastian Negri, R
21Guglielmo Palazzani, R
22Ian McKinley, R
23Luca Sperandio, R

*Players currently on the pitch are shown in bold

Game Info

Venue: Stadio Olimpico
11:30 PM, March 16, 2019
Capacity: 82,307

Match Commentary

81'+114-25 End of second half
80'The ball is kicked into touch, and France end a ten-match losing skid on the road. Absolutely incredible.
80'Into added time. Italy players can't quite believe what's happened. They won't even get a losing bonus point out of this. They will go back to the drawing board, but they will emerge in Six Nations 2020 having not won a match since 2015.
80'Player substituted - Romain Ntamack , France
80'Substitute on - Camille Lopez , France
79'Full credit to France for taking their opportunities - they've defended well under serious pressure, they've punished Italy's mistakes and they've been clinical when they needed to be -- including scoring a crucial try with 14 men.
79'14-25 Try - Damian Penaud , France
78'France have the ball off the scrum and decide to heave a kick downfield - - and it's brilliantly won in the air by Ntamack! He passes the ball to Penaud and the wing is away! He's going to win it for France! It's a try! That's the match! And Italy, somehow, SOMEHOW, are going to lose AGAIN! Unbelievable, and the Italy bench looks utterly distraught. How have they blown this one?
77'A kick downfield and Italy will have some running room inside the French half. But they can't quite get through and Padovani knocks on, perhaps put off by a thumping tackle on Morisi as the Italy centre passed the ball.
77'France steal the lineout ball! Italy were aiming for Parisse again, but this time the captain can't win it under serious pressure, mainly because everyone and their dog knew it was going to the big No.8.
76'The French scrum, for all its changes, holds up fine and they will have the chance to clear their lines. Serin boots to touch. It's not all that deep, and Italy will have a lineout on the French 22.
75'There's a discussion between the officials and French management as to whether scrums will be contested or not, as Aldegheri comes on and Falgoux has to shift to hooker.
75'Italy are trapped in kick-to-the-corner groundhog day. They absolutely have to force the ball over the line, or force the French into a moment of indiscipline that brings a penalty try. And from the lineout, Parisse makes a simply outstanding catch from a wayward throw! That was the match, right there. Great take from the captain, who simply refuses to let this chance slip. Here come Italy, working the ball to the right flank, but there's no room for Morisi. They've got the man advantage on the left though, and when Tebaldi feeds Allan, it's a simple pass to Zanon for the try! But wait, did he ground that ok? He looks a bit sheepish. He's lost that, in a great tackle by Penaud! But that's a shocking mistake from Zanon, who simply cannot let that happen, however brilliant the tackle is.
75'Substitute on - Dorian Aldegheri , France
75'Player substituted - Yacouba Camara , France
72'Bit of a delay, which plays into Italy's hands as they can plot exactly how they're going to take advantage of the numerical advantage. Bigi finds the man at the front of the lineout, and here comes the push. They're trying to roll the maul, but France hold firm, even without Chat. Advantage for a no-arms tackle. France are going to gift a penalty try if they're not careful here.
72'Another penalty advantage. Are we getting to warning time? No, it's a yellow card! Chat is sent to the bin! What a chance this is for Italy, even if the referee warns Parisse for flashing an imaginary yellow card. What does he think this is, football?!
72'Yellow card - Camille Chat , France
71'Good take from the lineout. Parisse calling the shots at the back of the ruck. Patient phase ball and this could be the try they need. Tebaldi back to Allan, who has a penalty advantage and tries a crossfield kick that is really poorly executed. It goes straight into touch over Padovani, and they'll have to go back to the corner for another lineout.
70'Here comes the Italy attack from the scrum. Tebaldi fires the ball back to Bigi, who does well to handle it. And there's a penalty against France for not releasing. What do Italy do here? They need six points, there is a fraction over 10 minutes left... and they kick for the corner. That's the correct decision in this instance.
69'France mess up at the lineout, the throw isn't straight and Italy will get the scrum.
69'Player substituted - Yoann Huget , France
69'Substitute on - Thomas Ramos , France
68'France kick the ball away and Hayward makes a good bit of ground in return, making tacklers miss. But then Allan kicks forward and into touch off the ground -- not sure that was the play there, Italy kind of need the ball in hand, but it does mean France are on the edge of their own 22.
68'Substitute on - Luca Sperandio , Italy
68'Player substituted - Angelo Esposito , Italy
68'Substitute on - Cherif Traore , Italy
68'Player substituted - Andrea Lovotti , Italy
67'Good push by the French scrum, which has dominated in everything but the first scrum of the match, and they win a penalty for Italy popping up. A chance to clear and ease some pressure on the French defence.
66'Yep, it's a knock on, and no try. France ball. Italy are so, so close to being ahead in this match, but as it is they still trail by six points. The clock is ticking, too...
66'A chance! Italy push forward through Padovani, and when he's pulled up short, Tebaldi takes advantage and tries to push towards the line for his second try of the match. It doesn't look like he's made it -- the onfield decision is no try, but this is going up to the TMO.
65'Sergio Parisse, in likely his last ever Six Nations match, is staying out on the field and pushing his team as far as they can possibly go. A terrific take at a lineout and he's taken out by Lambie, earning a penalty. Italy kick for touch and go in search of the try (and conversion) that would give them the lead in the final quarter of this match.
65'Player substituted - Etienne Falgoux , France
65'Substitute on - Dany Priso , France
64'Big push from the France pack as they form a rolling maul off the lineout. Falgoux is nearly through with a barracking run, but he's stopped by desperate Italian tackling. Serin slips it back to Ntamack, and he lands the drop goal. Smart, scoreboard-watching play from France.
64'Substitute on - Sebastian Negri , Italy
64'Player substituted - Braam Steyn , Italy
63'14-20 Drop goal - Romain Ntamack , France
62'France kick to the corner, perhaps put off from a shot at the posts by the difficult angle from the right wing.
61'Italy look to get on the front foot again, with decent possession in the French half. Tebaldi is trying his best to pick the France defence open as he did for his try. Italy have at least worked out that patient phase ball is the smart play -- until they suddenly lose patience, lose the ball and are forced on to the backfoot by a French punt upfield that is brilliantly chased by Medard. And then the Italians give away a penalty in their own 22.
60'Substitute on - Paul Gabrillagues , France
60'Player substituted - Paul Willemse , France
60'Player substituted - David Sisi , Italy
60'Substitute on - Alessandro Zanni , Italy
58'Bad news for Italy as the stretcher truck comes on to the field. It looks as though Ghiraldini has a pretty serious injury here. There's a lengthy delay as the medics get him on to the stretcher and carefully lift him on to the truck. His right leg is in an aircast and that's a terrible sign -- the rest of the club season and the World Cup are looming large when you have an injury that looks as serious as that. A real shame for Ghiraldini.
58'Substitute on - Luca Bigi , Italy
58'Player substituted - Leonardo Ghiraldini , Italy
58'Player substituted - Gregory Alldritt , France
58'Substitute on - Arthur Iturria , France
56'Substitute on - Baptiste Serin , France
56'Player substituted - Antoine Dupont , France
55'Great dummy at the ruck for Tebaldi to open the gap -- finally taking advantage of having France on their heels. Allan to convert, and he'll be glad to get a quick chance to make amends for that last penalty effort, which was hopeless. Oh, this isn't all that much better, hooking it to the left. A bad time for Italy's kicker to lose form.
55'For what feels like the first time in the game, Italy are working through the phases in the French 22. They have a penalty advantage, too. This could be the moment for the Italian try that has been just out of reach all match. And there it is! Tito Tebaldi squirrels over from close range, and the Rome crowd erupts. That closes the gap nicely and Italy are right back in this match.
55'14-17 Try - Tito Tebaldi , Italy
52'Italy are in good position in the France half, but the ball squirts out from the ruck and into French hands. Still, Italy's defence cover quickly and they force France into touch on the left flank. Determined tackling, led by Zanon.
50'And that's a hopeless shank from Allan. He's missed that by yards! And it was right in front of the posts. Shocking miss.
49'Offside against France from the restart, and Allan will line up another penalty.
48'If you track it back, that all came from a woeful kick from Hayward, under no pressure at all. Italy simply HAVE to stop making these mental mistakes.
48'Ntamack converts, and Italy have doubled their lead in the first seven minutes of this half.
48'9-17 Conversion - Romain Ntamack , France
46'France retaining possession with a scrum in the Italy half, but their not making much ground - until Ntamack picks some neat sidesteps, and his offload to Lambie hits the ground. Still, France recycle well and swiftly, and two passes later, Huget is set clear on the left wing and he's in for another try! He's had some clinical moments in this tournament - that's his fourth try of the campaign.
46'9-15 Try - Yoann Huget , France
46'Player substituted - Tizano Pasquali , Italy
46'Substitute on - Simone Ferrari , Italy
44'France lose their third lineout of the match, but after an exchange of punts, Jayden Hayward boots straight into touch on the full. That's a really, really poor kick. France will have a lineout in the Italian half.
43'Sweet kick, and it's through. France's lead is down to one point, and Italy are in the ascendancy early in this second half.
43'9-10 Penalty goal - Tommaso Allan , Italy
42'France penalised for coming in at the side, and Allan tests how strong the wind is before opting for a shot at the posts. That's been too long in coming from Italy -- they should have been keeping the scoreboard ticking in the first half.
41'Deep kick-off, followed by a shocking kick to touch by Medard. If that's a signal of intent from France, then they probably should have just stayed in the dressing room.
41'The teams are back out in the sunshine in Rome -- can Italy turn this around, or will their winless streak in the Six Nations extend into 2020?
41'6-10 End of first half
40'France get the ball from the scrum and punt it into the stands. They've been poor (again) but they lead. Is that good enough?
40'Conor O'Shea walks down from his perch in the stand, readying himself for a half-time team talk that needs to get his team focused on the task in hand. The look on his face is one of bemusement, anger and determination -- Italy know this match is there for the taking.
40'And they don't! They've knocked on! Goodness me, how utterly infuriating, even for neutrals!
40'6-10 Start of second half
39'Big push from the lineout, but there are too many massive humans in the way to get that ball onto the floor. France not committing many bodies at the ensuing rucks, knowing they can't afford to be stretched wide. Italy plotting at the beginning of each phase. They simply HAVE to score here.
38'The consolation is that France are playing just as badly. A poor clearing kick means Italy still have the ball in the France 22, and come barrelling forward. There's a penalty for going off feet, and Parisse's surge for the line comes up short, meaning they will come back for the penalty. It's kicked to touch again. Italy embarked on this ploy early, but they'd be leading if they'd just kept taking advantage of French indiscipline.
37'And Ghiraldini misses everyone with the lineout throw! What a time to make that mistake, what an opportunity to simply throw away. This must be infuriating for coach Conor O'Shea.
36'Silly foul by Penaud, who hits Padovani with a late tackle. Italy kick deep to touch and have an attacking lineout seven metres from the France line.
35'Zanon looking for some room through, but nothing doing. The ball runs loose and some very lax covering by the Italians allows Lambie to pounce on it and France to eventually clear their lines. Again, these little moments all build up to a 21-match losing streak in the Six Nations -- Italy simply have to do better in those moments.
34'A bit of box-kicking from both sides, combined with some phase building, and all much of a muchness for a few minutes. Good defence, you could say, but no huge attacking invention either. And then comes the France handling mistake, which you can almost put a stopwatch on -- there's one never far away. Italy have the ball in the France 22, can they make it count?
30'And then Italy get a penalty immediately after, and they'll clear their lines. They've recovered well there.
29'Good defence from Italy, forcing France into touch as they build a rolling maul from close range. Big roar from Parisse to herald that as well.
28'Italy penalised for crossing when trying to run the ball back out of their own half. Medard punts to the corner and France, in the blink of an eye, are now in an attacking position. For all that Italy have been improving under Conor O'Shea, they really need to find a way to manage games better, especially those big moments and the immediate aftermath. They've been caught a few times in this championship on very fine margins, and they make all the difference at this level.
27'So another scrum, this time to France, on their own five-metre line. And the push gives France a penalty. They've turned the screw significantly on Italy in the scrums since being embarrassed in the first one of the match.
27'There is, though, a TMO review. Is this to see if there was grounding with that first push off the back of the scrum? Hmm, there doesn't seem to be anything there that shows it's a definite try. Carry on, folks.
26'Nice pick-up and offload from Parisse at the back of the ensuing scrum, but Italy can't quite ground the ball again -- and then when they come again, Parisse knocks on. Goodness, these are very, very fine margins for Italy. It's not quite going their way on this occasion.
25'Italy think they're over, having kicked to touch with the penalty and driven from the lineout, but they're held up over the line. Big few moments in this game, though, and the Italian crowd are responding.
24'Italy looking to get their feet back under them -- and they've been robbed by the padding on the post! This should have been a try, a nice lineout move that brings a penalty advantage, and Allan puts through a beautiful grubber that is a simple try for Zanon, only for the ball to kick up and into the padding around the post, causing Zanon to knock on with acres of space to play with.
21'Slight drag of the right boot, but the kick straightens up and flies through the posts. France extend their lead to four points.
21'6-10 Penalty goal - Romain Ntamack , France
20'Better from France, who turn the screw on the Italy pack in the scrum, winning it against the head and Italy's scrambling defence gives away a penalty. Romain Ntamack will size this up, from 35 metres.
19'Guilhem Guirado's tournament appears to be over. The France captain is holding his ribs as he is replaced by Camille Chat. It's been a campaign to forget for Guirado, who is usually such a thumping presence for the French front row.
19'Player substituted - Guilhem Guirado , France
19'Substitute on - Camille Chat , France
18'Blimey, 11 missed tackles by Italy already. That's far too many, especially when you consider that France haven't exactly been hitting their straps.
17'Big test of temperament now for Italy -- they've been all over France, and yet they find themselves trailing again, as they have done for most of the time in this Six Nations campaign. Can they suck it up and put themselves back in the ascendancy? France immediately help by knocking on needlessly having won turnover ball in a maul.
17'6-7 Conversion - Romain Ntamack , France
16'And out of nothing -- a France try! Great work from Damian Penaud who drags in the final defender before releasing Dupont to score next to the posts. Italy had been near spotless in the first 15 minutes, but the moment they have a lapse, they are punished heavily. Conversion flies over, and France have the lead.
16'6-5 Try - Antoine Dupont , France
14'Not a lot going France's way. First a kick towards touch somehow bounces near but not over the touchline, then an up and under is won well in the air but is batted back so viciously that it bounces straight into Italian arms.
12'Another smooth kick, and Italy have opened this game exactly as they would have wished. France, on the other hand,...
12'6-0 Penalty goal - Tommaso Allan , Italy
11'Italy absolutely destroy the French scrum, who all pop up and give away another simple penalty. That is a big early win for the Italians, and Allan will have another look at three points.
10'Simple knock-on at the breakdown as France look to make ground, and Italy will have the put-in 10 metres inside French territory.
9'Partial chargedown of Dupont's attempted kick from the back of the ruck, and Italy will keep the pressure on France -- but Huget makes a terrific amount of ground with a bullish run through tackles. Great to see a bit of energy and determination from a player in blue.
8'Good progress down the right from Italy, making 30 yards with some fairly straightforward play, but Marco Zanon is dragged into touch on the floor, and France will have the throw at the lineout.
8'Goodness, a shocking knock-on from Yacouba Camara in the middle of the park. What is going on with France? They're better than this, surely?
6'Tommaso Allan strokes the penalty over from the edge of the 22, in front of the posts. Easy three points, and out of absolutely nothing as well.
6'3-0 Penalty goal - Tommaso Allan , Italy
5'After quite a free-flowing start, things have slowed down a bit and France are ploughing forward in their own half. And missing passes, and going backwards. And giving away a penalty all of their own doing, Lambie diving in off feet. Terrible, terrible play from the French!
2'Italy have made a good start here, and France's sleepiness is again on show as Yoann Huget completely misjudges a kick to touch and has to scramble backwards to cover the loose ball. Slack stuff, but that has become the norm with France.
1'Good clearing kick from Tommaso Allan, and France will have a lineout -- which they lose! Italy steal that but kick possession away very quickly, arguably too quickly.
1'France to kick off -- and away we go!
1'The anthems are complete (two absolute belters they are, too) and we are moments away from kick-off.
1'Meanwhile, in Cardiff....

1'Now, time for the anthems, but only after a moment of silence for the victims of the Christchurch terror attack yesterday. The silence gives way to a spontaneous round of applause, perhaps to drown out the occasional shout from the crowd.
1'The teams are on their way out, and the Rome crowd affords both a warm reception. Italy in their change kit of white shirts and blue shorts, to avoid a clash with France who wear their usual colours of blue shirts with white shorts.
1'But first we have this clash in Rome, with Italy seeking to end a 21-game losing streak in the Six Nations. Having already been landed with the Wooden Spoon, and with zero points from their four games so far, surely victory is beyond Conor O'Shea's side?

Not so fast, because France have been -- frankly -- appalling on the road during this campaign. They were humiliated within half an hour at Twickenham in Week 2, and Ireland barely had to get out of second gear to secure a bonus-point victory against them last weekend. Coach and captain appear to be at loggerheads, and now as much as ever the question is posed: exactly which France side will show up?

We're about to find out... anthems and kick-off are not far away.
1'Hello and welcome to the first ESPN live commentary of Super Saturday.

The Six Nations comes to a crescendo today, with varying things at stake through today's three matches.

Of course, things at the top of the table will be decided later this afternoon, as first Wales take on Ireland with a chance of clinching the Grand Slam, before England face Scotland with the possibility of capitalising on any slip-ups by the Welsh in Cardiff and pipping them to the title.
1'0-0 Start of first half

Six Nations 2019 News