herald

Monday 11 December 2017

French flair will banish Italian joy

France v Italy, Stade de France, Sun 2.30, Live RTé 2/BBC 2

You have to love the French way of playing this game, even if you don't hold quite the same natural affection for their management and players.

The reintroduction of French flair has found favour with their public, and the wholesale experiment by their coach Marc Lievremont, where everyone but the bagman seemed to pull on the blue jersey, has been ended.

It wouldn't take a seer to see this as a celebration of French superiority where they will weave magic patterns around a bewildered Italian side. It could well be a whitewash.

It is a pity that Italy's valuable win over Scotland and the joy taken out of their two-club entry into the Magners League could very well be all swept away in the time it takes for France to get into top speed.

Verdict: France

France: C Poitrenaud; M Andreu, D Marty, Y Jauzion, A Palisson; F Trinh-Duc, M Parra; T Domingo, W Servat, N Mas, L Nallet, J Pierre, T Dusautoir, J Bonnaire, I Harinordoquy.

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