Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Mallett proud of historic win

Nick Mallett

Italy coach Nick Mallett hailed his team's 22-21 home triumph over France as one of his proudest moments in his coaching career.

The result in Rome was the Azzurri's first ever win against Les Bleus in the RBS 6 Nations.

"It's one of the proudest moments as coach, for sure," Mallett said. "I am very proud of my players' performance. I asked my players to keep close to France in the first half and we did just that."

He added: "The first 20 minutes of the second half was perhaps our worst 20 minutes but my players reacted after being down 18-6.

"With 15 minutes to go, I could see that it was a struggle for France and I told my players to continue to attack them and my players did just that."

The victory was all the more special as it was their first in this year's tournament.

The Azzurri had lost 24-16 at home to Wales last time out having previously been trounced 59-13 by England at Twickenham.

Mallett's men were beaten 13-11 by Ireland in their Six Nations opener.

"I think we have played our best three games at home in the history of our Six Nations," Mallett said. "We were unlucky against Ireland and Wales but we were rewarded in this game."

Mallett believes Les Bleus will bounce back from this setback and added: "I think France have talent, they have quality players. I think it is a team that can easily qualify for the semi-finals of the World Cup. But rugby is bizarre and if you don't have the mental motivation..."

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