The 12th match of this year's six nations was the annual Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy between France and Italy. I didn't catch it on the day, but I remained unspoiled and finally found the chance to watch it today (I wrote this on the 20th, but have backdated it). The Giuseppe Garibaldi trophy is relatively new to the six nations lineup of single-match trophies, alongside the Calcutta Cup, the Centenary Quaich, and the Millennium Trophy.
The cup was created to celebrate the ties between the countries - Garibaldi himself was born in Nizza in 1807, Nizza later became the French city of Nice in 1860. Garibaldi himself was one of the 'fathers of Italy' and was a general in the Franco-Prussian war.
It has been played for since 2007, and Italy have never held the trophy.
The game started with a sense of purpose from France, with the Grand Slam within reach, they weren't going to take a victory for granted.
Early on, Italy showed aggression, and were on the front foot - but their ascendance didn't last long.
In the fifth minute, Morgan Parra as acting scrum half dummied a pass and ran straight through the Italian lines, offloading to Harinordoguy, who placed the ball neatly between the posts. Parra converted. 7-0 to France.
A couple of minutes later, Domingo broke free for france, but the Italians dragged him to the ground - and a penalty was conceded for obstruction. Parra kicked it cleanly - 10-0 to Italy.
From the ruck, the Italians seemed overly concerned with the ball being passed out along to the wing - and as a result the French could cut through the gap near the ruck.
In the 15th minute, Andreu followed the French pattern, and broke through on a run. He chipped the ball ahead and was then blocked by Gonzalo Garcia, who was duly sent off for ten minutes. The last thing the Italians needed.
Moments later, the French passed the ball quickly down the line, Trinh-duc found David Marty in a gap, who duly scored just left of the posts. Following the conversion, the score was 17-0 to France in the 17th minute.
In the 25th minute, there was a lovely try as Poitrenaud opted to pass to Harinordoguy rather than kick - as Italy probably expected. Harindordoguy ran through, offloading to David Marty who duly scored. The try was not converted. 22-0 to France.
At the 31st minute, Italy spent some time in the French half, but they lost their lineout to France, who were soon on the offensive again. The French passed the ball down the line, and a chip through threatened a fourth try - but the Italians scrambled a defence, getting to the ball first.
In the 34th minute, Italy were awarded a penalty for illegal binding. Bergamasco kicked the ball over for the first Italian points: 22-3 - and this was the scoreline at half time.
In the second half, France began with less dominance, Parra and Bergamasco each kicked a penalty, 25-6.
In the 49th minute, the French icon, Sebastian Chabal came on. I like Chabal, he's one of those players with a real presence on the pitch, even when he's not on top form, you are always aware that he is there. I once arrived late for a Wasps vs. Sale game and found him sitting in my seat, he was not playing and had travelled with the team to watch the game - he came across very well. Sale lost that day, and he wasn't hanging about at the end, alas, or I would have asked for a photo.
In the 51st minute, Andreu nipped through a gap which opened before the French line, and as the ball went down the line, Andreu changed direction and nipped through to score. Parra again converted. 32-6.
Fifth minutes later, Yannick Jauzion received a pass and made a superb run, he leapt from the grasp of an Italian tackler, and was brought down by an Italian ankle-grabber just before the line - but he had got just far enough that he could reach out and score. 39-6.
In the 66th minute, the French broke through once more, coming from the bench, Lapandry scored the try and Parra converted to score the last points for France - 46-6.
Italy finally had a consolation. In the 69th minute, Craig Gower got the ball to Paul Derbyshire, who in turn got the ball to Del Fava who scored for Italy. Bergamasco converted - Derbyshire did well to draw in the French players with a well-timed dummy, thank goodness that Italy earned something. 46-13
Then the French brought out Bastereaud - but he wasn't to improve the French score, though he did threaten to be a part of a French score in the 76th minute, but the Italians held the ball centimetres from the line.
Soon after their score, Italy seemed revitalised and went on the attack. Canavosio grabbed the ball from a scrum and shot away to score beneath the posts.
This brought things to the final score of 46-20, keeping the Giuseppe Garibaldi trophy.
France have therefore have all but won the six nations, with a slim possibility of an upset. Ireland are one game from the triple crown.
The remaining games are all played on saturday (given I'm posting late, that's today!) - starting at 2:30pm GMT with Wales vs. Italy, followed by Ireland vs. Scotland and France vs. England. All times are
|Table Built: Saturday, 20 March 2010 08:38 UK|