Captain Sergio Parisse bemoaned Italy’s habit of conceding late tries as his side were condemned to the RBS 6 Nations wooden spoon for a second straight season following a 40-18 loss to France in Rome.
The Azzurri suffered a 10th straight home defeat in the Six Nations. In all three this season they have shipped tries in the last quarter to lose heavily, this time allowing their opponents a bonus point.
In glorious sunshine at the Stadio Olympico, France led 16-11 at the break as midway through the first half Gael Fickou cancelled out Parisse’s early try.
A try for recalled wing Virimi Vakatawa early in the second period pulled the visitors clear and – having survived some intense home pressure – they scored again through Louis Picamoles and Brice Dulin, another man returning to the team, to earn a bonus point. Angelo Esposito crossed for a late consolation.
“In the last 20 minutes we conceded points. Those are the details that change a game: perhaps if the (Giorgio) Bronzini try had been given that might have changed things,” Parisse said in quotes reported on rbs6nations.com.
“The result is heavy at the end. Straight afterwards it’s difficult, but when you concede 40 points it’s hard.
“On the one-on-ones they put us under pressure, the same in the scrums, we weren’t good enough.
“We’re a mirror image of Italian rugby, we have strengths but also weaknesses. It’s difficult to draw conclusions straight after the game. No one came off the pitch without giving their all.”
It as another setback for ex-Ireland international Conor O’Shea in his first season as Italy coach.
“It’s difficult to talk after the game. They are a good side,” O’Shea said.
“Our path is still hard but with passion and desire we can change things. The result is what it is, even if we did well today.”
France coach Guy Noves was delighted to earn a bonus point through Dulin’s late try.
“We are very happy with the final result and this outcome,” Noves said in quotes reported on France Rugby’s official website.
“The guys rolled up their sleeves and went for the last try, to claim a bonus point.
“On the level of the result we are happy with this victory with the attacking bonus point which, although it seems easy to let go for some, is hard for us.”