France v Italy, Six Nations
Italy look to make it two from two
January 27, 2012
Sergio Parisse leads the celebrations after their historic win last year © Getty Images
France host Jacques Brunel's Italy at the Stade de France on Saturday in the 33rd meeting between the two nations.
The pair first met in 1937 with France prevailing 43-5 but 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 hostilities resumed at the beginning of the professional era, in 1995.
France lead the all-time stats with 30 victories but their run of 11 straight victories came to an abrupt end last year in the Stadio Flaminio. While the last time France were playing at home they hammered the Italians 46-20, Les Bleus' most recent trip to Rome ended in a historic 22-21 win for the Azzurri. It was Italy's second win to date after their first in a friendly played in Grenoble the 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 with Michel Arnaudet bagging a hat-trick.
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.
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 Dimitri 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.
France-Italy Six Nations results:
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
"At full-time I could not see the field for people dancing in front of me." Tom Hamilton reflects on the Lions' defeat at the hands of the Brumbies in Canberra
To coincide with the Lions' tour of Australia, and in association with Dove Men+Care, we are asking you to vote for the greatest Lions moments of the professional era
"He's full of empathy...he calms the water...he's the Brumbies' saviour," was how a taxi driver in Canberra described Jake White." Tom Hamilton files his latest Tour Diary
"I am not alone in believing this series could well be decided by who can steal most ball after the tackle." John Taylor previews the Lions' first Test showdown with Australia