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Rugby World Cup: France see off Italy 32-10

By Duncan Bech

Published 19/09/2015

France's prop Rabah Slimani (R) goes over to score France's first try in the Rugby World Cup match against Italy. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS.
France's prop Rabah Slimani (R) goes over to score France's first try in the Rugby World Cup match against Italy. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS.
Yoann Huget of France is helped from the field following his injury during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match against Italy at Twickenham. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
Italy's wing Giovanbattista Venditti runs to score a try during the Rugby World Cup match against France. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE.
Edoardo Gori of Italy passes from the ruck during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match against France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images).
France's full-back Scott Spedding kicks a clearance during the Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between against Italy. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK
Italy's prop Martin Castrogiovanni (R) fails to hold the ball during a Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against France at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.
France's lock Yoann Maestri and France's wing Noa Nakaitaci jump to win the ball with Italy's lock Josh Furno during their Rugby World Cup match at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE.
France's centre Alexandre Dumoulin wrestles in the air with Italy's wing Giovanbattista Venditti during their Rugby World Cup clash. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS.
Italy's scrum half Edoardo Gori kicks the ball during a Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against France. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE.
France's centre Alexandre Dumoulin is tackled during a Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between France and Italy. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE.
Italy's lock Josh Furno tries to fend off two tackles during the Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against France at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS.
Enrico Bacchin of Italy takes on the France defence during their 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match at Twickenham. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images).
Italy's hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini runs with the ball during the Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against France. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK.
Italy's centre Michele Campagnaro runs with the ball during the Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against France. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK.
Yoann Maestri of France wins a lineout during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match against Italy at Twickenham Stadium. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images).
Italy's hooker Leonardo Ghiraldini is tackled by France's prop Rabah Slimani during the Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup between France and Italy at Twickenham. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS.
France's fly half Frederic Michalak converts a penalty during a Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against Italy. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE.
France's scrum half Sebastien Tillous-Borde passes the ball during the Pool D match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup against Italy. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS.
France's full-back Scott Spedding is tackled by Italy's fly half Tommaso Allan in their Rugby World Cup clash. AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS.

France launched their World Cup with a comfortable victory over Italy at Twickenham but the 32-10 victory was overshadowed by another high-profile blunder by bungling officials.

Just 24 hours after a near-carbon copy incident at the same venue involving England, wing Noa Nakaitaci had a 10th-minute try awarded and then disallowed moments before the conversion was to be taken by Freddie Michalak.

Referee Craig Joubert was given the green light by TMO Shaun Veldsman to give the score but after seeing a new, rear view, angle on the big screen he realised Nakaitaci had dropped the ball over the line and referred the decision for a second time, and on this occasion the right call was made.

Fiji scrum-half Nikola Matawalu had a try chalked off for the same reason in Friday's 35-11 defeat by England, and while the correct outcome was reached on both occasions, the uncertainty and confusion is doing little for the sport's reputation.

The incident had little impact on the outcome of the game, however, as France scored two tries to make a strong start to a group that also includes Ireland, 50-7 conquers of Canada earlier in the day.

Four penalties from Michalak and one from Scott Spedding established a 15-3 interval lead for France, who cruised further ahead when prop Rabah Slimani scored the first try in the 45th minute.

Nakaiticai made the initial break by surging down the left wing and he found hooker Guilhem Guirado in support.

Guirado cut inside and was halted just short of the line, but when the ball was recycled Michalak grubbered for Slimani to gather and touch down.

Italy, who have seen their captain Sergio Parisse ruled out of the entire World Cup through injury, hinted at a fightback when sustained pressure resulted in space for wing Giovanbattista Venditti to sprint home under the posts.

But as the final 10 minutes neared France struck again through veteran replacement prop Nicolas Mas who showed strength to force his way to the line and the presence of mind to touch the ball against the posts knowing he would not reach the whitewash.

Michalak converted to take his personal tally for the night to 19 points and conclude a fine start to the World Cup by his team who did enough to suggest they are genuine title contenders.

Online Editors

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