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Italy stun France

Italy blew this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship wide open by recording a stunning 23-18 victory over title favourites France at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Leicester prop Martin Castrogiovanni scored the decisive try of a thrilling encounter that saw Les Bleus' Grand Slam hopes destroyed on the opening weekend.

Skipper Sergio Parisse also touched down, but Italy fly-half Luciano Orquera ran the show majestically, kicking a drop-goal, two conversions and a penalty before his replacement Kris Burton's late drop-goal saw the Azzurri beat France for a second successive Six Nations occasion on home soil.

France conjured first-half tries for number eight Louis Picamoles and wing Benjamin Fall, with Frederic Michalak slotting two penalties and a conversion, but they could have few complaints about the result.

Italy survived a frantic finale, holding out despite being under sustained scrum pressure after replacement hooker Davide Giazzon was sin-binned two minutes from time.

But they had heroes everywhere as France threw everything at them, gaining a victory that means they will head to Edinburgh next weekend as favourites to beat Scotland.

France, meanwhile, must beat reigning Six Nations champions Wales in Paris next Saturday or see their hopes of silverware disappear without trace.

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