France 46-20 Italy, Six Nations, March 14
Mallett slams defensive shortcomings
March 14, 2010
France's Alexandre Lapandry scores a try, France v Italy, Six Nations, Stade de France, March 14, 2010
Italy's Luke McLean and Kaine Robertson cannot prevent France's Alexandre Lapandry from scoring © Getty Images

Italy coach Nick Mallett blasted his players for their defensive performance in the 46-20 Six Nations defeat in France.

Centre David Marty scored two tries in eight minutes while Italy were down to 14 men with Gonzalo Garcia in the sin bin and winger Marc Andreu, flanker Alexandre Lapandry, Imanol Harinordoquy and Yannick Jauzion also touched down. Morgan Parra kicked seven goals from nine attempts to give the French a 46-6 lead before late tries from Carlo Del Fava and Pablo Canavosio.

"It was the worst match we played for a year. We are pretty disappointed and our defence was very poor," he said. "A lot of players played their worst games today and when you do that against France they will score a lot of tries.

"They were made to look a lot better by our missed tackles but some of our players were well off their best. We have to be 100% to compete and we weren't - but I was very pleased with two tries we scored."

For an hour the Italians were a shadow of the team that beat Scotland and pushed England all the way in Rome, and fly-half Craig Gower admitted the players were disappointed with their performance.

"You can't miss those one-on one tackles against the French," he said. "It wasn't us. We didn't have that enthusiasm that we had in the last couple of weeks, which is disappointing. Obviously we wanted to play better than that. We've just got to forget about that and concentrate on Wales."

Only England stand in the way of a French Grand Slam but Mallett does not think Martin Johnson's side will be able to stop them. "I don't think they'll score tries that easily against England because we missed very simple tackles," he added. "But the French are a very good team, the best in this championship. They will win the Grand Slam."

France defence coach Dave Ellis was delighted with his side's six-try show an not even a late fightback in which the Azzurri plundered 14 points could not detract from hius satisfaction.

"We were quite pleased with how we set up in the game but we sort of fell asleep a little bit in the last 10 minutes of the first half and it took us a while to wake up," said Englishman Ellis, who is also defence coach at Guinness Premiership side London Irish. "We more or less achieved what we wanted to. We conceded a couple of tries after we had made many changes, for example playing Morgan Parra at number 10. He hasn't got the habit of defending as a 10 from a scrum and he got caught out a couple of times. In general, if you had asked us before the game if we would score almost 50 points, we'd have taken it. For an hour of the game, everything went to plan."

France captain Thierry Dusautoir said, "I am sure England will will want to come here and stop us winning the Six Nations."

Harinordoquy said that the players were only now starting to think about winning the Grand Slam. "Today the big thing was to win. We are very happy. We know it wasn't easy to play against Italy," he told BBC2. "Generally we did what we had to do to win this match. Now the last objective is to beat England and win the Grand Slam."


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