History stacked in France's favour
March 7, 2011
Italy's Alessandro Zanni is shackled by the France defence during their clash at the Stadio Flaminio in 2009 © Getty Images
Italy play host to France at the Stadio Flaminio in Rome on Saturday in what will be 32nd major Test between the two sides since their first meeting in 1937.
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 official hostilities resumed at the beginning of the professional era, in 1995.
France lead the all-time stats with 30 victories and 11 straight win in the Six Nations - the most recent of which came in Paris last year where the hosts recorded a 46-20 success. Les Bleus' most recent trip to Rome ended in a 50-8 win.
Italy's only win to date was in a friendly played in Grenoble a 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.
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.
Italy-France Six Nations results:
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape
Move over, Castro - from falling off a chair to stepping off the team bus, Scrum Sevens recounts some of the strangest rugby injuries ever
Martin Gillingham on the latest from France and why the national side can learn a thing or two from Top 14 side Bordeaux Begles