Great success for the Italians who finished third in the world ranking in the last test before the World Cup
The approach to the World Cup in New Zealand ended with a brilliant victory: Italy, with a crazy performance, beat France (third in the world ranking) by 26-19 and achieved an incredible success. After the start of the sprint, similar to the previous challenge, Italy withdrew the required reaction, France suffered a dramatic mental decline and Andrea Di Giandomenico’s team took advantage of it.
Italy and France: the record
France begins by following the same script as the first game: drive forward, then immediately accelerate. Italy is saved first with a mistake in Quiroy’s foot, and then with Romain Menegre who remains in the goal line.
Blue struggles to get out of 22, and the French turn regional dominance in points in the 8th minute with Val, who finds the winning position in the middle of the poles after a series of stages at very high rates.
Italy tries to respond, but a foul-going throw allows France to give another acceleration: charges, crosses and speeds up with backs, and a good jay digs into the group and restores the oval.
Italy’s response comes with the tactical match in the foot, which aims to open up spaces in the middle of the field and prevent the French from insistently imposing their pace. A pair of well-aimed kicks from Madia and Sillari let the blues breathe. Unlike the first match, Italy is struggling in an organized scrum, and two free kicks arrive at two French fronts.
When France enters in the 22nd minute it is always dangerous, but at 19, it is Sgorbini who finds a grip and relieves the opposing pressure. The Blues have a first chance at 23′, but a foul by Bitoni invalidates it all. The French are back in the red zone, the second goal arrives in half an hour thanks to the orderly arrangement: the advanced package, Romain Menager comes out in time and scores the second goal.
Returning to the other side, Cellari responds with a kick and Locatelli jumps on the ball that the French have just recovered, earning a free kick and foul. Bettoni’s shot is good and he’s right on the Colorno wing, the hit goes ahead and eventually it’s the Italian captain who finishes the first try in the blue. Rigoni did not find the turn and stays at 5-14.
In the final, France accelerated again. Meeniger, however, misses a very buzzed pass, intercepting Muzzo and pushing the French up to a level 22 at his foot: Muzzo herself goes to tackle Llorens, the ball goes out of the fold without a half-scrum and Sillari is the quickest to tap to fly into goal. Rigoni also finds the shift for 12-14.
As time runs out, the Blues run the last possession poorly and give a free kick that brings France back to 22. The scheme is always the same: hits take a few meters and then the ball is played at a very high pace. Italy defends as best they can but makes a mistake: France calls a scrum directly under the goalposts, however, the cross package Albanians overdo and takes a free kick for a crooked push.
At the start of the second half, D’Incà substituted Sillari, while France look more puzzled than the first break. Giordano recovers a throw-in in 22 French and Italian attacks with a series of counts, then Rigoni expands on De Inca who arrives soon, but on the next attempt, Ostuni Minozzi’s way is cleared. Rigoni turns to 19-14.
France swerves, Italy smells blood and insists. Stefan inspires breakout Aura Muzzo, who finds a wonderful discharge for Rigoni. The blue number 12 breaks the first tackle, leaves the ball, gets up and goes to burn, but Joey Neville after an interview with TMO cancels a striker.
Giada Franco replaces Locatelli, and Di Giandomenico’s team continues to insist. But one mistake is enough to send the French back to the front court. Ostuni Minuzzi doesn’t find the release in the line and instead finds Tremouliere a great 50:22, but on the next touch, the blue cages are the opposing hit and gaining turnover.
In the final quarter of the race, Seye enters for Gai, while Arrighetti replaces the aching Sgorbini, who breaks out in tears. Maria Magatti took a hit too, with Granzotto taking her place and Stefan moved to the winger. France in the final gives another change of pace: the falling hole advances several times with the ball in his hand, then Tremouliere creates space for the Llorens race, which sets the equalizer. From the playing field, Drouin finds no advantage.
Maris was also forced to leave after a heavy blow, which was replaced by Stika. The ending is an offensive: Granzotto imposes a furious rhythm on the Italian movement, which is more progressive than ever. It’s exactly half of the Capitolina that recycles a ball that looked lost from the ground, Franco absorbs two opponents and spreads on Rigoni, who seeks internal support from Stefan for an already scored goal, but Chiuri interrupts the movement with a clear volunteer forward. Neville’s decision is clear: technical goal, Italy leads 26-19.
The Blues are also unlucky, because Tremouliere completely misses a touch kick but hits Stecca and still earns a throw-in: in terms of the progression of the event, however, the French are making a silly mistake. Time’s up, Rigoni has thrown the ball away and it’s time to party. Italy beats France 26-19.
Italy and France: Match Report
Italia15 Ostuni Minozzi, 14 Mozzo, 13 Cellari, 12 Rigoni, 11 Magatti, 10 Madea, 9 Stefan, 8 Giordano, 7 Sgorbeni, 6 Locatelli, 5 Duca, 4 Federighi, 3 Guy, 2 Bettoni (C), 1 Maris.
Available: 16 Vecchini, 17 Stecca, 18 Seye, 19 Arrighetti, 20 Franco, 21 Granzotto, 22 Stevanin, 23 D’Incà
Destinations: Bitoni 35 minutes, Cellari 39 minutes, Ostuni Minozzi 45 minutes, technical goal 74 minutes.
Transitions: Rigoni 40′, 46
France: 15 Jacquet, 14 Lorenz, 13 M miniature, 12 Darwin, 11 Pollard, 10 Queroy, 9 Bourdon, 8 R miniature, 7 Gros, 6 Velio, 5 Vale, 4 Ferrer, 3 Bernado, 2 Suchate (C), 1 Deshaye
Available: 16 Touyé, 17 Brosseau, 18 Joyeux, 19 Forlani, 20 Mayans, 21 Sansus, 22 Trémoulière and 23 Boujard
Target: Fall 8′, R. Menager 31′, Llorens 71
Transitions: Darwin 9, 32
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