Rugby World Cup 2015: Pool D - France v Italy
Huget injury overshadows France victory
ESPN Staff
September 19, 2015
Date/Time: Sep 19, 2015, 20:00 local, 19:00 GMT
Venue: Twickenham Stadium, London
France 32 - 10 Italy
Attendance: 76232  Half-time: 15 - 3
Tries: Mas, Slimani
Cons: Michalak 2
Pens: Michalak 5, Spedding
Tries: Venditti
Cons: Allan
Pens: Allan
 Guilhem Guirado of France goes to ground during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D match between France and Italy
Guilhem Guirado goes to ground during a France attack
© Getty Images

France showed glimpses of the flair within their ranks but it was nineteen points from the boot of Frederic Michalak which did most damage in their Rugby World Cup Pool D victory over Italy.

With second-half tries from Rabah Slimani and Nicolas Mas - the latter a smart touchdown against the post pad - adding to their first-half advantage, the French were rarely troubled nor pushed into a higher gear. One concern, however, was a knee injury suffered by Yoann Huget in the second half that saw the winger leave the field in tears. Coach Philippe Saint-Andre later revealed that the initial prognosis was cruciate ligament damage.

The victory keeps France on pace with group favourites Ireland, who had earlier defeated Canada 50-7 in Cardiff. The two European sides meet in the final game of the pool on October 11, with both firmly on track to make it a play-off for first spot.

Four penalties from Michalak and one from Scott Spedding established a 15-3 interval lead for France, who cruised further ahead when prop Rabah Slimani scored the first try in the 45th minute.

Nakaiticai made the initial break by surging down the left wing and he found hooker Guilhem Guirado in support.

Guirado cut inside and was halted just short of the line, but when the ball was recycled Michalak grubbered for Slimani to gather and touch down.

Italy, who have seen their captain Sergio Parisse ruled out of the entire World Cup through injury, hinted at a fightback when sustained pressure resulted in space for wing Giovanbattista Venditti to sprint home under the posts.

But as the final 10 minutes neared France struck again through veteran replacement prop Nicolas Mas who showed strength to force his way to the line and the presence of mind to touch the ball against the posts knowing he would not reach the whitewash.

Michalak converted to take his personal tally for the night to 19 points and conclude a fine start to the World Cup by his team who did enough to suggest they are genuine title contenders.

Yoann Huget is helped from the field after suffering a knee injury during the second half © Getty Images
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