France are just one step away from their first Six Nations Grand Slam in six years, after they demolished the Italians 46-20 at Stade de France, Paris, on Sunday.
In a performance of sublime skills and raw power, the French scored six tries to two.
However, the game was over as a contests inside the first half-hour, as the home team scored three great tries to race into a 22-0 lead – with Italy’s only reply in the first half a 35th-minute penalty.
That became 46-6 as the final 10 minutes approached and the French finally taking the foot off the gas – allowing the Italians to score two consolation tries.
France now face England in Paris next week, having virtually sealed the Six Nations title and looking for their fifth straight win of the season to seal the Slam.
France can, of course, mess it all up by losing to England – but in order for Ireland to win the Six Nations they also need to beat Scotland by at least 50 points and hope the French lose.
Italy will be looking to bounce back and produce for their second win of the season when they face Wales in the final round of league action.
Tries: Harinordoquy, Marty 2, Andreu, Jauzion, Lapandry
Cons: Parra 5
Pens: Parra 2
Tries: Del Fava, Canavosio
Cons: Mirco Bergamasco 2
Pens: Mirco Bergamasco 2
Yellow card: Gonzalo Garcia (Italy, 15th min – foul play, late shoulder charge)
France: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Marc Andreu, 13 David Marty, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Francois Trinh-Duc, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Julien Pierre, 4 Lionel Nallet, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 William Servat, 1 Thomas Domingo
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Jean-Baptiste Poux, 18 Sebastien Chabal, 19 Alexandre Lapandry, 20 Dimitri Yachvili, 21 Mathieu Bastareaud, 22 Julien Malzieu
Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Andrea Masi, 13 Gonzalo Canale, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Mirco Bergamasco, 10 Craig Gower, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Alessandro Zanni, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Josh Sole, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini (captain) 1 Salvatore Perugini.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Carlo Antonio Del Fava, 19 Paul Derbyshire, 20 Pablo Canavosio, 21 Riccardo Bocchino, 22 Kaine Robertson.
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), David Changleng (Scotland)
TMO: Hugh Watkins (Wales)