Italy v France, Six Nations Championship, March 21
Whitewash looms for Italy
John Griffiths
March 16, 2009
France's Sebastien Chabal is shackled by the Italy defence, italy v France, Six Nations, Stadio Flaminio, Rome, Italy, February 3, 2007
France's Sebastien Chabal is shackled by the Italy defence on his side's last visit to Rome in 2007 © Getty Images

Italy take on France at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome on Saturday staring at their fourth whitewash since joining the Six Nations in 2000. They lost all of their Championship matches in 2001, 2002 and 2005.

The nations meet for the 30th time since 1937 in a major Test. The first game was staged as part of a Paris exhibition tournament that also featured Belgium and Germany.

The sides did not meet again at full cap level until 1952, when the French engaged on a 15-year exchange of spring fixtures with the Italians. After 1967, the match was downgraded by the French to a B-fixture. Full official hostilities resumed at the beginning of the professional era, in 1995.

This will be the tenth time the countries have met in the International Championship since 2000.

France head the series by 28 wins to one. Italy's only win to date was in a friendly played in Grenoble a week after France had won the 1997 Five Nations Grand Slam.

France hold the records for the highest score, the biggest winning margin and most tries scored in a match. They won 60-13 in Toulon in 1967 scoring eleven tries.

Italy's highest score is their 40-32 win in Grenoble in 1997. They scored four tries that day, a feat they later achieved in their matches of 2000 and 2003.

Guy Camberabero, with 27 points for France in Toulon in 1967, holds the series record for most points scored in a match. Diego Dominguez scored 20 for Italy in 1997.

Maurice Celhay set the record for most tries in a match, scoring four for France when the sides first met, at the original Parc des Princes in 1937. Alessandro Troncon crossed twice for Italy in Paris in 2000.

Christian Darrouy heads the list of try scorers for the overall series, crossing seven times between 1957 and 1967.

Italians hold the other major records for the matches: Diego Dominguez scored 71 points (compared with 54 for France by Dmitri Yachvili), and Sergio Lanfranchi, a versatile forward who was capped as a prop, lock, flanker and No 8, played 11 times in this fixture between 1953 and 1964.

Italy-France Six Nations results:
2000 France 42-31 (Paris)
2001 France 30-19 (Rome)
2002 France 33-12 (Paris)
2003 France 53-27 (Rome)
2004 France 25-0 (Paris)
2005 France 56-13 (Rome)
2006 France 37-12 (Paris)
2007 France 39-3 (Rome)
2008 France 25-13 (Paris)

  • Click here for Italy's complete Test record in Statsguru

  • Click here for France's complete Test record in Statsguru

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