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Italy 23-18 France, February 3, 2013
Parisse hails "fantastic" victory
ESPN Staff
February 3, 2013
Italy celebrate their historic win over France, Italy v France, Six Nations, Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy, February 3, 2013
Italy celebrate their historic win over France at the Stadio Olimpico © Getty Images
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Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations
Teams: France | Italy

Italy captain Sergio Parisse lauded his side after they stunned title favourites France with a 23-18 victory in their Six Nations clash at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Tries from Parisse and prop Martin Castrogiovanni propelled the Azzurri to only their third ever victory over France with fly-half Luciano Orquera kicking 10 points and orchestrating the win to claim the Man of the Match honour.

"We are really happy with the victory," try-scorer Parisse said on BBC1. "We talked a lot about our ambition as a team before the tournament, but when you talk and you don't get the result, you don't have any credibility.

"Today, we have won against France, a team that played very well in November. For us, it is a fantastic beginning to the Six Nations. We kept the ball for a lot of phases, and I am really happy because we played together so much. I think we really deserved the win."

Castrogiovanni said: "We couldn't have started the tournament better than this, repeating what we did (against France) two years ago. France are one of the best teams and one of the favourites to win the tournament, so for us it is a huge start.

"We still have other four games to go, and I hope we keep playing like that. If we play like that, I think we can have a chance against any team. Our defence was unbelievable, and against any team in the world, if you put them under pressure with your defence they can't carry the ball forward. It's not how you want to finish a game, with seven men in the scrum five metres from your own line, but the boys really wanted it."

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre was left to rue some costly errors after seeing his side's title hopes take a grievous blow. "We need to congratulate Italy. They played very well, with a lot of passion, and kept the ball well," France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said. "We had control of the game when we were five points in front, but we lost the ball too many times and were not precise. When you are not precise in the Six Nations, you are punished.

"The players are very, very disappointed. We prepared well for the game and we respect the Italian team. They improve each year, and in November they were unlucky to lose to Australia. Wales against Ireland was a fantastic game yesterday. Wales are very quick and physical, and we need to prepare very well and we need to win. It is not acceptable to lose at home."

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