Six Nations 2013: England beat France after Wales beat Italy

England women lose 20-30 to France women after England beat France 23-13 and Wales beat Italy 26-9.

23 February 2013 Last updated at 21:30 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 2117: 

    Sated now? Me too. I couldn't face the merest morsel, even a Sevens game would see me go the way of Mr Creosote.

    What a day it's been though, with Wales far too good for Italy in rain-lashed Rome and England surviving a first-half onslaught from France to keep their Grand Slam hopes firmly alive.

    Tomorrow we've got the Celtic clash between Scotland and Ireland, with Scottish full-back Stuart Hogg looking to continue both his fine run of form and knack of scoring spectacular long-range tries.

    Turns out he's related to George Best - you can read Ben Dirs's interview with the young Scottish full-back by clicking here, and check back later for more insight from Rome and Twickenham from Messrs Bryn Palmer and Tom Fordyce.

    You can also catch up with the match highlights on the website: Click here for Wales' win over Italy or here for England's thriller against France.

    I'm off for an ice bath and intensive rehydration. If you've made it through all three games, sensational work, and see you tomorrow for another chapter in this enthralling 2013 Six Nations.


    England captain Sarah Hunter on BBC Red Button: "It was tough out there. France are a very physical side and they played some great stuff. It was not the result, or performance, we wanted. We did play some good rugby but we left it too late to come back at them.

    "We've not become a bad team overnight but we do have to go back to the drawing board and regroup for our game against Italy.

    "It's devastating we're not going to win the title this year. To win Six Nations you have to be at top of your game and we haven't been."

    HALF-TIME- England 20-30 France

    It's all over, England suffer their first ever loss in 10 matches at Twickenham. It's been an entertaining finale to a big afternoon of rugby, and although England lost, I think it's safe to say the women's game has been a big winner after an entertaining encounter.

  4. 79 mins: 
    England 20-30 France

    England are refusing to lie down and Mclean puts Abigail Chamberlain through a gap. The centre makes 40m but cannot find her support. France turn it over but England are awarded a penalty and will get the chance for the last word.

  5. 76 mins: 
    TRY (Gallagher, Reed con)- England 20-30 France

    The hosts hit back with a cracking try of their own. Debutant Emily Scott is hauled down by Lagdanous after a 30m run, but England recycle and Saracens flanker Gallagher crashes over under the sticks.

  6. 75 mins: 
    TRY (Lagdanous)- England 13-30 France

    No matter though as France go straight back on the attack and a cute little pass from second row Marine De Nadai gives Caroline Ladagnous the chance to scorch over in the right corner. Lovely finish that.

  7. 72 mins: 
    MISSED PENALTY (Tremouliere)- England 13-25 France

    England dominate France at a scrum, but when they try to run from their own 22 the whistle blows and the visitors will have a simple kick to extend their lead, but replacement flu-half Jessy Tremouliere can't hit the target.


    England scrum-half Ben Youngs, who is watching from the Twickenham sidelines, on BBC Red Button: "England are slowly getting themselves back into the game. Obviously France are two tries ahead but we scored that penalty and hopefully the momentum can swing our way with one of their players in the bin."

    You can watch all the action from Twickenham on the Red Button or through the video at the top of this page.

  9. 68 mins: 
    PENALTY (Reed)- England 13-25 France

    England finally get reward for their efforts as Reed lands a penalty, and the French suffer a major blow as the influential N'Diaye is sin-binned for going off her feet at a ruck.

  10. 65 mins: 
    England 10-25 France

    McLean makes another good break, she's made a real difference. England go wide and the lively Tuson produces a big hand-off as she gets within a yard before being hauled down. England recycle and Hunter tries to drive over, but the ball gets buried.

    It will be an England scrum but the ball is knocked on yet again and France escape.

  11. 62 mins: 
    England 10-25 France

    England are enjoying some concerted pressure as they string the phases together deep in French territory. But then they lose possession in the turnover and France counter. Huge frustration for the Red Rose as a golden chance goes begging.


    Former Wales international Non Evans on BBC Red Button: "England need to score and score quickly if they are to get back into this match."

    You can watch all the action from Twickenham on the Red Button or through the video at the top of this page.

  13. 58 mins: 
    England 10-25 France

    England have brought on a new front row and it pays dividends as they win a penalty at a scrum. McLean shows her class with a dummy and incisive break before setting Wilson free inside the French 22 with a neat offload out the back. But France flood back and manage to turn over possession at the ruck.

  14. 54 mins: 
    England 10-25 France

    Some of the England men's team are watching from the tunnel, drinks in hand. Given the ferocity of some of the breakdown work out there, I'm guessing they're glad to be in their DJs rather than having to mix it with the impressive French back row.

  15. 50 mins: 
    England 10-25 France

    England wing Tuson makes a fine break down the left wing but she throws a blind pass and France get a line-out inside their 22.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England scrum-half Amy Turner, at Twickenham:

    "The French have come out for the second half with real intent. They want to take the game to England. It's clever tactics by the French coaches to utilise their bigger size on England, which has resulted in a 15 point gap now."

  17. 45 mins: 
    TRY (Chobet, Agricole con)- England 10-25 France

    Diallo wins the latest in a series of line-outs - she's totally dominant in that phase of the game. France spin it, recycle, and prop Christelle Chobet is unstoppable from short range. Agricole's feet are in better working order than her hands and she lands a good conversion.

  18. 44 mins: 
    England 10-18 France

    France start the half with a sweeping, multi-phase attack in which N'Diaye features prominently, but it breaks down as blind-side Coumba Tombe Diallo gets in the way. The France six immediately redeems herself by stealing an England line-out, only for Les Blues fly-half Agricole to knock-on. Cold hands out there I'd wager.

  19. 2016: 

    The French look pretty fired up as they huddle before the restart - they have no intention of letting this slip. England have brought on regular fly-half Katy McLean for the second half.


    England coach Gary Street on BBC Red Button: "We have got to cut out our errors. We have got some young players out there and Twickenham is a huge occasion for them. We have to control the ball better, go forward and get some width. It's still there for the taking."


    Former England lock Jenny Sutton on BBC Red Button: "It's been a good game of rugby but unfortunately not so great for England. The France forwards got the ascendency straight away and are winning the set pieces.

    "England are OK in the scrum, where they are heavily outweighed. They are holding their own. But the lineout is not going well."

    You can watch all the action from Twickenham on the Red Button or through the video at the top of this page.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England scrum-half Amy Turner, at Twickenham:

    "I don't think England need to be disappointed going back down the tunnel to the changing room. But they do need to get the ball in hand, and make France make tackles to tire them out. We have an abundance of new players in the side but the unit needs to stick together and settle it down by playing short balls. If I was coach Gary Street, I would say 'let's not force it too much, and have a bit more composure'. It seems all a bit forced right now."

    HALF-TIME- England 10-18 France

    England are way below strength because of their focus on sevens this season, but they are not helping their chances with an error-strewn performance at Twickenham.

    France are getting the upper hand up front and look more fluid when they go wide, and this game looks theirs for the taking.


    Philip Foster: "Hmm, very poor decision by the TMO for the French try there. No chance you could guarantee that ball was grounded."

    Let us know your thought on England Women's game against France by using the #bbcsixnations hashtag on Twitter.

  25. 40 mins: 
    England 10-18 France

    Final chance for England this half, they have a line-out just inside French territory. But the hosts knock it on, the latest in a series of mistakes from them, and that will be that for the opening period.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England scrum-half Amy Turner, at Twickenham:

    "That was a really good effort by Amber Reed. She tried her best to stop the try."

  27. 35 mins: 
    TRY (N'Diaye, Agricole missed con)- England 10-18 France

    Big France number eight Safi N'Diaye smashes her way over - but Reed and Wilson combine to try and prevent her getting the ball down. We've gone to the TMO... and it's a try.


    Former Wales international Non Evans on BBC Red Button: "It was a lovely kick for the France try but a very lucky bounce. It was a great chase by France and they reminded me of the France men's team who chase everything."

    You can watch all the action from Twickenham on the Red Button or through the video at the top of this page.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England scrum-half Amy Turner, at Twickenham:

    "Good decision by Sarah Hunter. At this stage of the game, so close to half-time, it's important to get points on the board."

  30. 32 mins: 
    PENALTY (Reed)- England 10-13 France

    Punch and counter-punch at Twickenham as England hit back immediately courtesy of a penalty from Reed. A blow for France as Elodie Poublan goes off with a knee injury.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England scrum-half Amy Turner, at Twickenham:

    "To be fair, the French did well to isolate Lauren Cattell at the back to score that try. The French utilised a fraction of opportunity and they're showing a burning ambition to get points here. But the England girls need to be more confident."

  32. 30 mins: 
    TRY (Godiveau, Agricole missed con)- England 7-13 France

    A quick one-two from France. Agricole kicks through and Cattell is exposed by a nasty bounce. France regather and kick ahead and Lucille Godiveau touches down. Agricole is very unlucky with the conversion, hitting the post from wide out.

  33. 28 mins: 
    PENALTY (Agricole)- England 7-8 France
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England scrum-half Amy Turner, at Twickenham:

    "That's just plain and simple concentration. Lauren Cattell has lost her bearing and forgotten where she is. That should be her bread and butter."

  35. 26 mins: 
    England 7-5 France

    The French replacements are snuggled under the biggest duvet I've ever seen - who knows how many polyesters died to fill that.

    England 7-5 France

    After a shaky start England - who have 17 top players unavailable as they are focusing on the Women's Sevens World Cup - have come right back into the game and are putting pressure on the visitors.

    And just as I say that, full-back Lauren Cattell drops the ball for the second time, and France get the chance to go back on the attack.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England scrum-half Amy Turner, at Twickenham:

    "That was great strike by Amber Reed and she will be pleased with that goal after her previous miskick."

  38. 17 mins: 
    TRY (Wilson, Reed con)- England 7-5 France

    Great score topped by a fantastic conversion from the touchline by Reed. Sally Tuson takes much of the credit after rescuing a move that was going nowhere with a powerful carry, before Wilson comes from the opposite wing to score in the right corner.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England scrum-half Amy Turner, at Twickenham:

    "Hopefully, La Toya Mason and Tamara Taylor and the more experienced players will be able to help calm some nerves and keep the England team together."

  40. 14 mins: 
    MISSED PENALTY (Reed)- England 0-5 France

    England force a shot at goal but Amber Reed makes a horrible connection and her kick has all the aerodynamic efficiency of a winged pheasant as goes well wide.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England scrum-half Amy Turner, at Twickenham:

    "That try comes from Ceri Large having a moment and losing her discipline."

  42. 10 mins: 
    TRY (Guiglion, Agricole missed con)- England 0-5 France

    France kick a penalty into the corner and drive over the line but cannot get the ball down down. England drive them back but they spin it wide and Perpignan winger Elodie Guiglion dives over in the corner.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England scrum-half Amy Turner, at Twickenham:

    "England need to realise, ball in hand is a good thing. They have to be comfortable with the ball and keep possession or it won't be their day today."


    More from England skipper Sarah Hunter, who spoke to BBC Sport in the build up to the France game: "The more we get shown on live television the more people talk about it. There are a huge amount of people who have tuned in after watching the men's game and then said they didn't anticipate it being so skilful. The more people watch it the more the game will grow."


    England captain Sarah Hunter popped into BBC Sport towers in Salford recently and told us the team are hoping to use the televised clash against France to attract more new fans to the women's game.

    "Knowing you're going to be on live television gives you a feeling that you've got to go out and perform," said the Lichfield number eight.

    "Obviously you do that anyway, but we know we have to do well because it might be the first time someone tunes in to watch a game of women's rugby. We need to be able to show it's a good sport to watch and for them to tune in again."

  46. 5 mins: 
    MISSED PENALTY (Agricole)- England 0-0 France

    It's all France at the moment, but they fail to go ahead as Sandrine Agricole falls short with a penalty.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    England scrum-half Amy Turner, at Twickenham:

    "To play at Twickenham is really brilliant and the atmosphere will be fantastic. Playing at night-time under the floodlights is really special for the ladies and is also a rarity. There will be nearly 4,000 people in the stadium and it should be a good game."

  48. 1 min: 
    England 0-0 France

    England kick off, France clear deep and Sarah Hunter drops the ball to give France an early scrum.

  49. 1920: 

    Right then, feeling sated? Me neither. After a bit of a stodgy starter and a big meaty pie of a main course, anyone hoping for something sweet from the women to finish up is in for a disappointment. Here we go now...

    You can watch all the action from Twickenham on the Red Button or through the video at the top of this page.


    More from England coach Stuart Lancaster on the impact of France's substitutions: "I thought we gained the ascendency at that point, there's no doubt about it. As a coach I'm thinking about my own substitutions, but you do cast a glance at the changes they are making.

    "As they came on I guess they wanted to break the game up, but it played into our hand because our defence got stronger."


    Former England captain Nigel Melville: "England used their bench and got stronger, France used their bench and got weaker! England win, France's more than a 15 man game!"


    More from England's Manu Tuilagi on his second-half try: "It was a great chase from the boys. I think it was Mako [Vunipola] who got the ball out, I picked it up and then I was running into fresh air."


    England try-scorer Manu Tuilagi on BBC One: "We're relieved we got through it. The boys worked hard out there - it was a tough game. The French played really well and I think our defence was really good. It was a bit messy at times but we scrambled back. We were happy to get the win."


    One downside to England's afternoon was the early exit of fly-half Owen Farrell. The Saracens star limped off the Twickenham pitch with a second-half injury.

    England's Owen Farrell
    BBC Radio 5 live

    England coach Stuart Lancaster on BBC Radio 5 live: "I thought our control grew in the game. Our defence was fantastic. It wasn't exactly how we had planned but it was a proper Test match.

    "We pride ourselves on our defence, but we did give away a soft try. But we upped our game in the second-half. We're young in terms of age, there's a lot of 22-24 year-olds out there and I thought the players showed a lot of maturity. We'll have a bit of a break and then focus on Italy."


    Steve Pensom: "Well done England. Thank you Philippe Saint-Andre, taking off your 10 to put a kicker on. Great call."

    Matthew Thorne: "Nothing in sport means more to me than an England win v France in the Six Nations! Bench made the difference today."

    James: "England defended on the halfway like it was their try line. A really committed second half performance. a gritty, deserved win."


    England captain, and man of the match, Chris Robshaw on BBC One: "We were a little bit slow coming out of the blocks and they scored a brilliant individual try. But credit to the guys, we stuck at it and when we got our attack going were found space.

    "All games are won in the last 20 minutes, we got a couple of penalties and it gave us a bit of daylight."

    Matt Dawson, BBC Radio 5 live

    "There were a lot of positives for England - they weathered the early storm and didn't panic."

    Former England hooker Brian Moore, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "It was a much better performance from France, especially early on when they created significant problems. Then there was a tactical aberration from France frankly. England took control and were comfortable winners in the end."

    FULL-TIME- England 23-13 France

    For the first 40 minutes it was a rip-roaring, see-sawing classic of a match, as crunchy as any Le Crunch there's ever been. But in the second half England took control - possibly helped by some "interesting" French substitutions - and Stuart Lancaster's men were totally dominant for the last 30 minutes.

    Next up to face the English steamroller are Italy. Will they be anything more than a speedbump on England's march to a Grand Slam? That looks unlikely and on this evidence a first Slam for a decade looks a real possibility.

  61. 80 mins: 
    HANDBAGS- England 23-13 France

    Bit of a dust-up involving Ashton and Fall. Nothing really to talk about but a good chance to dust off this graphic.


    Former England captain Will Carling: "England have done enough to win. Another good test of their character, mental composure. French substitutions did help massively."


    England centre Manu Tuilagi shows his love for the Twickenham crowd as he celebrates his crucial second-half try.

    England's Manu Tuilagi
    Matt Dawson, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Clinical from England, particularly in the latter part of this game. England look relatively fit with all the games that they've played, and still look hungry for it."


    Mark Shelton: "France a tad unlucky with some ref decisions, but you make your own luck and they made this bad luck with poor substitutions."

    Neil Dodsworth: "France picked a good team, then brainlessly subbed off key players and have fallen apart, hilarious!"

    Steven Anderson: "Be a new French head coach the end of this Six Nations. The team they started with was working, giving this away now."

  66. 79 mins: 
    England 23-13 France

    Right English folk, you can afford to relax now, there's no coming back from the French at this late stage. The hosts have dominated territory and possession since half-time, and the white shirts are grinding forward with glacial inevitability. England captain Robshaw picks up man of the match - none more redoubtable.

    Sir Clive Woodward, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "Nothing has gone well for France since they made those host of substitutions. It's interesting to think what would have happened if they were still playing with the same XV they started with."

    Ian Robertson, BBC rugby union correspondent on 5 live

    "That was Michalak at his worst. He's had a nightmare."

  69. 76 mins: 
    PENALTY- England 23-13 France

    French indiscipline at the ruck, Flood takes it out to more than a converted try.

  70. 75 mins: 
    England 20-13 France

    France enjoy rare possession in the England half but a shocker of a pass from Michalak ruins the attack. Flood clears, England on the attack back inside the France half once again. They are going for the kill here.

  71. 72 mins: 
    PENALTY (Flood)- England 20-13 France

    A drive from a line-out earns England a penalty and Flood knocks over the kick. It was a simple effort to be fair - my dear old mum could have kicked that.


    Max Thomas: "It seems that the England substitutions are much sharper and more effective than the French."

    Jonathan: "Manu Tuilagi is defo my favourite centre. explosive."

    Steven Anderson: "Great consistently Dan Cole, man of the match for me. Getting the hard work done at the front."

  73. 71 mins: 
    England 17-13 France

    Terrible pass from Vincent Clerc lands straight in the arms of Ashton, but after England launch a wave of assaults Care is forced to kick through and Huget clears in classy fashion despite big pressure from the England scrum-half. The hosts are well on top now.

    Sir Clive Woodward, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "When this game started, I looked at the two sides and thought it would be a great game between two evenly-matched teams. But now England are the far stronger. France have taken off their best players and this looks like the team which lost to Italy and Wales."

  75. 69 mins: 
    England 17-13 France

    England's bench has made a big difference. The hosts are pressing France back and forcing the visitors to fling it about inside their own half. Robshaw picks off an interception but Flood's kick just eludes the on-rushing Ashton.

    Ian Robertson, BBC rugby union correspondent on 5 live

    "England's defence is working magnificently, breathless stuff."

    Tom Fordyce, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "Fearsome stuff now, the nerves clanging, the tackles frantic, the French off-loading and chipping and dashing..."

  78. 66 mins: 
    England 17-13 France

    Oof. England smash the French in a scrum, really taking them apart. The visitors have replaced prop Nicolas Mas with Luc Ducalcon - they may be regretting that now.

  79. 64 mins: 
    England 17-13 France

    The cork's out of the bottle now - this game is really fizzing. France produce an exhilarating passage of play, featuring a sublime chip and regather from the mercurial Michalak and a tank-like rumble down the touchline from Picamoles, but it comes to a halt as a poor pass from a forward dies on Michalak.


    Passions always run high in 'Le Crunch' - France's Yoann Maestri gets to grips with opposite number Geoff Parling.

    France's Yoann Maestri and England's Geoff Parling

    Former England captain Will Carling: "England need to pressure Michalak. He can win games, he can also lose them. Play on that and French nervousness around him."

  82. 59 mins: 
    OUCH! (Farrell missed pen)- England 17-13 France

    This time it's France's turn to infringe at the restart, but Farrell's kick is a shocker. He doesn't look happy and comes off seconds later after pulling up injured. On comes Toby Flood.


    England have clawed their way back ahead after Wesley Fofana's superb solo try handed France a half-time lead. The centre scythed through a host of tackles to leave the home defence floundering.

    France's Wesley Fofana
  84. 56 mins: 
    PENALTY (Michalak)- England 17-13 France

    France have brought on Frederic Michalak at fly-half in place of Trinh-Duc because of concerns over Parra's goal kicking. The replacement slots his first attempt as England infringe at the restart.

    Alastair Eykyn, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Vital intervention from Tuilagi, he's had to wait for his turn but took his try well. The crowd are now in good voice."

    Former England hooker Brian Moore, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "That was completely out of the blue. France were authors of their own misfortune. Great opportunism by Tuilagi."

    You can watch all the action from Twickenham on BBC One or through the video at the top of this page.

  87. 54 mins: 
    TRY (Tuilagi, Farrell missed con)- England 17-10 France

    England strike - but they enjoy a huge slice of luck. The ball is kicked forward by an England forward at a ruck but appears to strike Vunipola before falling to Tuilagi. The referee misses it though and Tuilagi thunders over from 40m. Farrell misses from the touchline - someone recalibrate that laser sight.

  88. 53 mins: 
    England 12-10 France

    England ring the changes, Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs and James Haskell on for Joe Marler, Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes respectively. That's two thirds of a new front row - first scrum will be interesting.

  89. 51 mins: 
    England 12-10 France

    A quick tap penalty sparks a surging England attack but just as it looks as though they are on the verge of creating something, the ball carrier becomes isolated and France are awarded a penalty and clear their lines.


    Chris Turner: "England look tactically naive at the start of second half. Hope that youthful exuberance is enough."

    Dominic Lewis: "Farrell needs to keep composure the French have riled him."

    Rob Escott: "Marler needs to get the nudge on Mas if this half is going to be a success. Can't afford to be bullied at scrum time."

    Matt Dawson, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Seems like the French players have done their homework on the line-out and on their defence too."


    Gareth: "Good news for England is we have a much stronger bench than France. Twelvetrees, T Youngs, Haskell, Care and Flood. All world class players. It's down to Lancaster to get his substitutions spot on. "

  93. 47 mins: 
    PENALTY (Farrell)- England 12-10 France

    The kid's got ice in his veins, England back in front.

  94. 46 mins: 
    England 9-10 France

    England kick a penalty for a line-out inside the France 22, but lose their throw as Christophe Samson soars highest. Frustrating for the hosts.

    Former England hooker Brian Moore, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "Lucky, lucky England. But there you go."

  96. 42 mins: 
    MISSED PENALTY (Parra)- England 9-10 France

    Big mistake from England at a scrum. The ball gets stuck in the England second row, France get on a drive and by the time Tom Wood has picked up at the base, the English front row has jack-in-the-boxed out of the top and France get the penalty.

    Fortunately for the hosts, Parra misses the kick. Big let-off.

    Matt Dawson, BBC Radio 5 live

    "I would hope that the coaches have asked the players to play a bit more, England have to mix-up their game, maybe Barritt needs to come in and hit Trinh-Duc from a different angle."

  98. 41 mins: 
    England 9-10 France

    Right we're back, on a knife-edge this one. Trinh-Duc restarts, Goode returns with interest.


    Albus Dumbledore: "Could we have the French side that played Wales, please?"

    Will Gardner: "COME ON ENGLAND lets stack up these points in the second half."

    Jeff Dorman: "Shades of Lomu about Fofana try...same poor tackling for England!"

  100. 1756: 

    Don't forget, later on we've got England Women against their French counterparts, while earlier today Ireland Women wrapped up the Triple Crown with a 30-3 win over Scotland women.


    Andrew Sherry ‏on Twitter: "Well... if the second half is as good as the first, this must to be the match of the Six Nations. Brilliant play and amazing French try!"

    Former France international Thomas Castaignede, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "France's attitude is much better and collectively we are much better organised. The scrum is strong and the forwards are strong. We're looking like a good team - which we should have done from the start of the tournament."


    Is that 40 minutes already? Blimey. What a half, France looking like the "real" France we've all come to know and fear, England fighting hard but lacking fluidity out wide.

    With the French half-backs clicking and Bastareaud punching his considerable weight in midfield, Fofana is tearing England apart out wide.

    The hosts are far from out of it, but they'll need to lift their game if they are going to keep on track for a Grand Slam.

    Ian Robertson, BBC rugby union correspondent on 5 live

    "End of a frantic first half, only the one try but what a try by Fofana, and Owen Farrell, three penalties from three attempts. It's been a very entertaining game and all to play for in the second half."

    Sir Clive Woodward, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "The more I watch replays of that France try, the more poor defending I see from England. There were four or five really poor tackles."

    You can watch all the action from Twickenham on BBC One or through the video at the top of this page.

  106. 40 mins: 
    MISSED PENALTY (Parra)- England 9-10 France

    Dan Cole penalised for taking out the lifter at a line-out. Parra gives it a thump from halfway... but doesn't have the range.


    Joe, Oxford: "Chris Ashton is dining out on reputation alone. Poor in defence and ineffectual in attack. One swallow dive doesn't make a summer."

  108. 39 mins: 
    England 9-10 France

    Lawes looks to be getting up to speed now and he munches French winger Benjamin Fall. The balletic Fofana again looking a threat and dances through the England defensive line, but the hosts' second rank manages to hunt him down.

  109. 37 mins: 
    England 9-10 France

    England counter-ruck well, but the ball squirts loose for a France line-out. Parra probes the touchline, England throw back deep inside their own half.


    Jamie Thorpe: "Weak, weak defending. Lawes has been poor all game, get him off."

    Rob Escott: "Lawes not looking destructive enough for me at 6. Get Haskell on."

    Simon Cuckoo: "Let's get some ball and run the phases...."

    Matt Dawson, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Games of this magnitude are usually won in the set pieces, especially in the scrum, and at the moment France seem to be on top in that area."

  112. 34 mins: 
    PENALTY (Farrell)- England 9-10 France

    France have Fofana's sizzling feet, England have the reliable boot of Farrell. Prosaic so far, but effective.


    Former England captain Will Carling: "Fofana was always going to be the threat. Lawes missing too many tackles. Time for calm heads 8.9.10 for England."

    Former England hooker Brian Moore, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "Everyone was looking for Bastareaud to do the damage but anybody who watches Heineken Cup or Top 14 rugby knows Fofana is the man who can tear teams apart. A superb solo effort. On the balance of play it's no less than France deserve."

    Ian Robertson, BBC rugby union correspondent on 5 live

    "Fofana is a fantastic player. he must have beaten half-a-dozen players to score that try."

    BBC Radio 5 live

    Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson, BBC Sport at Twickenham:

    "That is sloppy, to lose a try from 60 yards out. You can't afford to make a mistake at this level."


    England needed just over a minute on the clock before going ahead through Owen Farrell's early penalty.

    England's Owen Farrell
  118. 29 mins: 
    TRY (Fofana, con Parra)- England 6-10 France

    Ooh la la. Fofana glides past Lawes on halfway, steps Ashton and hits the jets. Ben Youngs has the angle but is handed off and although Ashton gets back for a desperate dive, Fofana is home for a marvellous solo try. Dazzling.

  119. 27 mins: 
    PENALTY (Farrell)- England 6-3 France

    England drive from a line-out, France number eight Picamoles infringes at a ruck but England keep going and Tuilagi smashes through the France midfield. He is felled just short and when England recycle, Farrell's kick for Ashton is too strong.

    They were playing advantage, however, and Farrell makes no mistake with the kick to edge the hosts back in front.

  120. 23 mins: 
    England 3-3 France

    France are looking threatening with Fofana and Bastareaud linking well in the centres. The hosts have made 27 tackles so far - and missed six. Not good.

    England launch an attack and Tuilagi bashes through Bastareaud, but England are then turned over and Yoann Huget counters, before the ball is knocked on. The game is being played at a huge speed.

    Sir Clive Woodward, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "With Lawes starting, the French line out has been excellent and in terms of the breakdown France are shading it at the moment. France are heading for the Lawes channel and they're finding some gaps."


    Former England captain Will Carling: "Robshaw needs Farrell to keep a cool head. Let his centres do the physical intimidation etc, and he runs the game."

  123. 18 mins: 
    England 3-3 France

    Sweeping move off first-phase from France but Tuilagi strips Trinh-Duc as the 10 dummies, and England clear deep after being awarded a penalty. England launch an assault off the line-out and Chris Ashton makes a half-break from Farrell's inside pass, but he is isolated and Thierry Dusautoir latches onto the turnover and wins a penalty for the visitors.

  124. 14 mins: 
    England 3-3 France

    Anyone wondering which France would turn up should know it's the running, free-flowing model by the looks of things. Recalled half-backs Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc are "already making the difference" for the visitors, says Sir Clive Woodward.


    John Bates: "Sensible heads on chaps; France are not going to lie down and let us walk all over them. It's the forwards who will win this one and it's not going to be pretty."

  126. 12 mins: 
    England 3-3 France

    Huge from France. They win a scrum penalty just outside their own 22 - and decide to scrum again. They promptly bulldoze England backwards in a way that has not happened for a long time. Worrying for the hosts.

  127. 8 mins: 
    England 3-3 France

    Couple of early errors from Lawes, starting his first ever Six Nations game after an injury-ravaged couple of years - perhaps over-keen to make a quick impression.

  128. 5 mins: 
    PENALTY (Parra)- England 3-3 France

    England infringe this time, up steps Morgan Parra. The France scrum-half is every inch the petit general at nine Les Bleus love and he bisects the posts. Game on.

    Sir Clive Woodward, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "You have spent all week preparing and then 47 seconds into the game France concede a soft penalty. That's hugely frustrating as a coach. But it's a great start for England."


    Former England winger Ben Cohen: "Come on England. More of the same!!"

  131. 2 mins: 
    PENALTY (Farrell)- England 3-0 France

    Joe Launchbury tidies up a line-out after Lawes loses control of the throw, Yoann Maestri goes off his feet at the ruck and Owen Farrell says "much obliged" and strokes over the penalty.


    Former England captain Will Carling: "So now we will find out if we have prepared the right way, are the minds right. watershed game for England. England need to be very precise, very controlled first 20 mins. Must convince France that they will lose!"

  133. 1 min: 
    England 0-0 France

    Owen Farrell bangs his kick-off deep and recalled scrum-half Morgan Parra clears for a line-out just outside the France 22.

  134. 1700: 

    England have made three changes, beefing up the pack with Courtney Lawes and Dylan Hartley and really beefing up the backline with the addition of Manu Tuilagi.

    He'll line up against the equally huge Mathieu Bastareaud for France, who have made a massive seven changes. Here we go now...


    Gary Coward: "Tuilagi v Bastareaud - when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object."

    Jade Monaghan: "So excited for this England game. I hope we absolutely annihilate France."

  136. 1658: 

    Let's have a look at the teams:

    England: Goode; Ashton, Tuilagi, Barritt, Brown; Farrell, B Youngs, Marler, Hartley, Cole, Launchbury, Parling, Lawes, Robshaw, Wood.

    Replacements: T Youngs, Wilson, Vunipola, Haskell, Waldrom, Care, Flood, Twelvetrees.

    France: Huget; Clerc, Bastareaud, Fofana, Fall; Trinh-Duc, Parra; Domingo, Kayser, Mas, Samson, Maestri, Nyanga, Dusautoir, Picamoles.

    Replacements: Szarzewski, Debaty, Ducalcon, Suta, Machenaud, Michalak, Fritz.


    Nic, Sevenoaks: "If we produce half of the performance we produced against the All Blacks we will stuff the French 50-0."

  138. 1657: 

    While France go into the game on a low, Stuart Lancaster's new-model England are flying high after following up their stirring victory over world champions New Zealand in the autumn with opening Six Nations wins over Scotland and Ireland.

    Win today and the Grand Slam start to look a real possibility.


    France coach Phillippe Saint-Andre on BBC One in the Twickenham tunnel: "We are very disappointed after the first two games in the Six Nations. So to come to Twickenham against a very strong England team we must play with spirit and we will try to play rugby.

    "In international games we must create, pass and take responsibility. We didn't do that against Wales."

    Former France international Thomas Castaignede, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "It's our Grand Slam today. We have nothing to lose."

  141. 1655: 

    Ah, the unpredictable French. It is one of rugby's most enduring clichés, up there with 'dark arts' and '10-man rugby', but France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has set out his stall to make the 'unpredictable' tag a thing of the past.

    How's that working out for you Phil?

    In the autumn, France - arguably the better team in the 2011 World Cup final - looked like world beaters. Two morale-sapping defeats later, including only their third ever loss to Italy, and instead their world has fallen apart.

    The thing about clichés is, of course, that they contain a strong element of truth - so how that other well-beloved cliché, that of French flair, survives, I do not know.

    Former France coach Bernard Laporte despised the notion and Saint-Andre is renowned for his clinical approach (who knows what Marc Lievremont's gameplan was).

    And Jeremy Guscott says anyone expecting the French to hark back to their glorious past at Twickenham should expect instead 'crash, bang wallop'.


    Former England captain Will Carling: "Safe to say it is fresh here at Twickenham! Hope it's a little too cold for our French visitors!!"


    England fly-half Owen Farrell on comparisons with Jonny Wilkinson: "Everybody is their own player. But to come anywhere near him is a massive privilege and is humbling."

    You can watch all the build-up to England v France on BBC One or through the video at the top of this page.

  144. 1648: 

    Pre-match chat reveals England second row Geoff Parling wants to ride a lion into training each day.

    He also wants England to be like New Zealand, so nobody fault the man for lack of ambition. Read Tom Fordyce's entertaining and informative interview (it's positively Reithian) by clicking here.

  145. 1643: 

    Right then, everyone refuelled and ready for our second presentation? I had a cup of tea and a cheese and ham tart - for those southerners among you out there I believe you call it a quiche. I also think that reveals suspect pro-France sympathies, I trust there'll be none of that once the game kicks off.

    Matt Dawson, BBC Sport at Twickenham

    "I can't wait to see Tuilagi's clash with Bastareaud. It's going to be seismic."


    laila milborrow on Twitter: "Come on England!"


    Nick Simpson: "The Twickenham crowd will put England on the front foot in the first ten. Will be crucial to see if France have the fight."


    Stace ‏on Twitter: "Allez les Bleus!"

  150. 1630: 

    So then, Wales on the climb. The potential title decider in Cardiff against England looms bigger by the week. Next up, England try to maintain their Grand Slam bid as they host winless France, kick-off in half an hour.

    It's not so wet in London - indeed last I heard it was snowing - so for the neutrals out there let's hope for a bit more running rugby.

    As for the Welsh, I think the phrase is a win's a win, eh lads?


    Matthew Wilkinson: "Solid performance by Wales, not great on the eye though. That's an hour and a half of my life I'll never get back."

    Goatfish: "All that talk of Italy challenging for the Championship seems a long time ago."

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Former Wales scrum-half Robert Jones in Rome:

    "It's a job well done for Wales, very professional. They stuck to the task well. Fly-half Dan Biggar was my man of the match.

    "The defence was very comfortable and Wales took their chances well. You go out to do a job and Wales did it fantastically well. Rob Howley got his tactics and selection right. Two more wins and Wales could win the Championship."

    Former Italy captain Marco Bortolami, BBC Sport in Rome

    "Italy have to be more clinical, especially in bad conditions. The scrum didn't work very well and they have to sort it out. Going to Twickenham [they face England on 10 March] when your scrum isn't working is a tough place to go. They also looked very tired towards the end."


    Wales try-scorer Jonathan Davies on BBC One: "It was a good performance - especially up front. The boys worked very hard and as a backline we had to make sure we took our chances. The pack was on fire."

    Jonathan Davies, BBC Sport in Rome

    "Wales were clinical and turned the pressure into points. It was a very solid performance and they can build on it going up to Murrayfield in their next game."


    Wales winger Alex Cuthbert dived over the Italian try-line to seal a record fourth successive Six Nations away win for his country.

    Wales' Alex Cuthbert
    FULL-TIME- Italy 9-26 Wales

    Wales can't win out of the Championship, they barely lose in it. In difficult conditions they were by far the better side, with a dominant scrum, superior decision-making and Halfpenny's boot - plus one moment of real class out wide - guiding them to victory.

    There's no hope of repeating last year's Grand Slam, but the title remains in reach.

  158. 79 mins: 
    Italy 9-26 Wales

    Oh dear, that's the worst knock-on I've ever seen. Italy 10 Burton passes all of three yards to Livorno-born Paul Derbyshire but he doesn't even see the ball and it cannons into his chest and onto the ground.


    Dan Johnson: "Italy's handling has just not been good enough today. Can't compete at this level if you can't take your opportunities."

    James West: "Leigh Halfpenny has got Man of the Match sewn up here."

    Jonathan Davies, BBC Sport in Rome

    "The game has just gone a little flat. Italy are resigned to the fact they are not going to win."

  161. 77 mins: 
    Italy 9-26 Wales

    Another Italy attack comes to a disappointing end for the hosts as Davies steals possession. Hook clears, Burton returns, Hook tries to force the play and is caught, holds on and is penalised. Italy kick to the corner but once again lose possession.

  162. 74 mins: 
    Italy 9-26 Wales

    Can Wales finish on a high? Cuthbert goes for an interception from Masi's pass, but gets there too soon. Italy clear their lines.

  163. 73 mins: 
    Italy 9-26 Wales

    Much more open second half, the rain appears to have halted. The lively band in the crowd is by far the most creative Italian force in the stadium - a quick blast of "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes fills the ground.

  164. 70 mins: 
    Italy 9-26 Wales

    Great defence from the line-out by Italy halts the attempted Welsh drive. They spin it, but the ball goes loose. Disappointing for the visitors.

  165. 69 mins: 
    Italy 9-26 Wales

    Wales kick to the corner, back comes Castro from the naughty step - the Italian line-out will be at full strength now the Leicester prop is back on the field. Wales five metres out, need to win the throw. Sam Warburton on for Ryan Jones.

  166. 68 mins: 
    Italy 9-26 Wales

    Wales on the attack and they win a penalty inside the Italy 22. Posts or corner?


    Wales are firmly in command with 10 minutes left after Alex Cuthbert added to Jonathan Davies's opening try.

    Wales' Jonathan Davies

    Cory Williams: "Alex Cuthbert! That's what happens when you use the backs!!"

    Ms Varney: "Wales have got their mojo back! Good try guys."

  169. 65 mins: 
    Italy 9-26 Wales

    Italy need to score next. Here come the hosts but a multi-phase attack sees them forced back from within five metres of the Wales line to outside the visitors' 22. Then the Italy scrum-half knocks on. They look as threatening as as a basket full of puppies, and a shadow of the side which outplayed France three weeks ago.

    Former Wales winger Shane Williams, BBC Sport in Rome

    "That try from Cuthbert was the first time that Dan Biggar has used his outside backs. It was a great dummy run by Jonathan Davies and a simple pass behind him. Rob Howley will be pleased with the options Dan had in that play."

    Jonathan Davies, BBC Sport in Rome

    "Castrogiovanni, sat on the bench, realises the game is now over for the Italians. That is what we want to see from Wales - getting their strike runners into play in the back line. I think Wales can score as many points as they want now."

  172. 61 mins: 
    TRY (Cuthbert, Halfpenny con)- Italy 9-26 Wales

    Even massiver moment. Cuthbert has looked the most dangerous runner out there and when Wales move it wide the 6ft 6in winger slices through the Italy defence and slides over for a sharp try. Halfpenny strokes over the extras from out wide. That is surely a decisive score.

  173. 59 mins: 
    SIN BIN (Castrogiovanni)- Italy 9-19 Wales

    Big moment. Massive. Italy penalised at the scrum yet again and this time prop Martin Castrogiovanni is sent to the sin bin.

    Former Italy captain Marco Bortolami, BBC Sport in Rome

    "It's a tough place to be, 19-9 down with 25 minutes left. But Italy have to be patient. If they overplay they will give more opportunities to Wales to score more points.

    "Italy were unlucky at the start of the second half - they could have scored a try. So they need to be patient, keep a cool mind and try to go down the field."

    You can watch all the action from Rome on BBC One or through the video at the top of this page.

  175. 58 mins: 
    Italy 9-19 Wales

    Here come Italy. They try to go through the phases but have all the punch of waves lapping against a beach. They lose possession forward but Cuthbert knocks on as he sets off for a gallop. Wales put-in.

    Jonathan Davies, BBC Sport in Rome

    "For all the young kids watching the game, Leigh Halfpenny puts a great amount of effort into his kicking. He is always on the training ground. He is reaping the rewards now."

    You can watch all the action from Rome on BBC One or through the video at the top of this page.

  177. 55 mins: 
    Italy 9-19 Wales

    The Italian scrum, which normally chugs forward like a tractor, currently has all the power of a Lambretta. They promptly change two-thirds of their front row to try to remedy the situation.

  178. 52 mins: 
    PENALTY (Halfpenny)- Italy 9-19 Wales

    Wales are back on top in the scrum. Italy fold once again, Halfpenny lands a superb long-range penalty.

  179. 49 mins: 
    PENALTY (Burton)- Italy 9-16 Wales

    This is far from over. Burton on the mark one again, a converted try now the gap.

  180. 48 mins: 
    Italy 6-16 Wales

    Wales lose a line-out on their own throw inside their 22 - the Italian crowd responds like the Azzurri have just scored the try of the century. Wales infringe in the next line-out, Burton to trim the gap...


    Geraint Blackwell: "Brilliant start to the second half by Wales. Bit of luck involved but who cares."

    Martin Baldwin: "If there is a prize for scoring tries from lucky bounces, then Wales will be winning that!"

    Athletic Evolution: "The kick is only as good as the chase!"

    Jonathan Davies, BBC Sport in Rome

    "I think that is Jonathan Davies's first touch of the ball. The Italians made a mess of that dinked chip and Davies casually picked up the ball to score. That gives the Welsh a bit of breathing space."

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Former Wales scrum-half Robert Jones in Rome:

    "Well that came from absolutely nothing. How easy a try is that?"

  184. 44 mins: 
    TRY (Davies, con Halfpenny)- Italy 6-16 Wales

    Massive moment in the game. Phillips pops a little kick over a ruck, the Italian halfbacks run into each other as the ball turns like a Shane Warne leg-break and Jonathan Davies is presented with a simple try.

  185. 43 mns: 
    Italy 6-9 Wales

    Italy batter away around the fringes before Burton misses a drop-goal. It's trench warfare out there at the moment. Cuthbert's siege-gun boot clears for Wales with a huge kick.


    Wales team manager Alan Phillips on BBC One: "The message at half-time was about patience and discipline in the second half. Keep the hard work up and go on and get the win."

    You can watch all the action from Rome on BBC One or through the video at the top of this page.

  187. 41 mins: 
    Italy 6-9 Wales

    If I was coaching either of these teams I'd have been stressing discipline, organisation and territory at the break. Who are you tipping? Burton restarts for the visitors, Wales fumble and the ball runs loose near the visitors' line, but what looked suspiciously like an early tackle prevents Tommaso Benvenuti picking up and going over.


    Niall Haughey: "This game needs Shane Williams to be playing rather than commentating. Need that spark."

    Carwyn Bowen: "Scrappy game again. The rain not helping matters. Conditions dictating play. Wales just need one try and we'll be away I reckon."

    Former Italy captain Marco Bortolami, BBC Sport in Rome

    "I've been surprised that Wales are mixing their kicking tactics up - they are kicking high and long. I think it is best to kick long and change the field position."

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Former Wales scrum-half Robert Jones in Rome:

    "Italy will know that they have a chance to win this game, but Wales will be happier and their scrums have gone fairly well. But they'll have to remain at their best to win this game.

    "Obviously the pitch is wet, so the ball is going to be damp, and this will be about who controls their territories best and handles the ball well. But conditions are making handling the ball difficult."

    Former Wales winger Shane Williams, BBC Sport in Rome

    "It has been scrappy from both sides and the conditions aren't helping. Wales will be disappointed to have conceded six points. They have completely dominated the scrum then conceded six points from penalties from the scrum.

    "Italy will be the happier team because there is only a three-point deficit. It's all to play for in the second half."


    The rain might be lashing down in Rome but it hasn't dampened the spirits of the Welsh fans inside Stadio Olimpico.

    Wales fans in Italy
    HALF-TIME- Italy 6-9 Wales

    They call Rome the Eternal City and I would imagine for neutrals it felt like time stood still for much of the first half - to call it ugly barely does it justice.

    To be fair to both sides the rain is absolutely hammering down and it is remarkable how well the pitch is holding up after 48 hours of solid downpour.

    Wales will be the happier of the two sides, not just because they have a narrow lead but also because of the fine performance of their pack.

    The team which makes fewer mistakes in the second half will win this, but it's likely to be a game of kicking and territory at a sodden Stadio Olimpico.

  194. 39 mins: 
    Italy 6-9 Wales

    Biggar clears to touch midway inside the Wales half. Can Italy make their final attack of the half count? Nope - Vosawai knocks on. It has been an error-strewn first 40 minutes.


    Andy Newnham: "Leigh Halfpenny a must for the Lions tour, a consistent performer with the right attitude throughout the last year."


    Anthony Bubb: "It will be tough to choose between Halfpenny and Farrell for the Lions tour this year. Both are on top form."

    Tom Hoseason: "It really is chucking it down during this match. I'm amazed anyone is able to hold onto the ball at all."

  197. 35 mins: 
    MISSED PENALTY (Halfpenny)- Italy 6-9 Wales

    He's normally very reliable, but Halfpenny pushes his kick to the right of the posts.

  198. 33 mins: 
    Italy 6-9 Wales

    Conditions really are appalling and they are making the ball the metaphorical bar of soap. "This isn't going to be a classic," says former Wales scrum-half Robert Jones on 5 live sports extra.

  199. 31 mins: 
    Italy 6-9 Wales

    Cuthbert takes an inside pass on halfway and sets sail for the line, but at full-stretch Gonzalo Canale pulls of a superb tap tackle to fell the lanky Wales wing. Play of the day so far from the Azzurri centre.

    Former Italy captain Marco Bortolami, BBC Sport in Rome

    "The weather conditions are difficult and errors will create opportunities for the opposition. It is vital for Italy to play in the right areas."

  201. 29 mins: 
    PENALTY (Burton)- Italy 6-9 Wales

    Yet another dropped ball as the rain hammers down - it is torrential out there. This time Italy win a penalty at the scrum, Burton makes no mistake with the kick.


    Paddy Murphy: "The band at the Stadio Olimpico is the best thing ever!!"

  203. 27 mins: 
    Italy 3-9 Wales

    Italy hammer away off the base but make no headway as Wales put their bodies on the line. The hosts are pushed back and Burton drops for goal, but misses left. The band fires up and the crowd let rip with the anthem - lively atmosphere in Rome.

    Jonathan Davies, BBC Sport in Rome

    "That was a comedy of errors. Poor kick by Burton - he went for distance but overcooked the kick. Cuthbert knew that but got himself into the wrong position."

  205. 25 mins: 
    Italy 3-9 Wales

    Bad drop from winger Alex Cuthbert as Burton fails to find touch with a penalty. Great attacking position for Italy 5m out.

  206. 23 mins: 
    Italy 3-9 Wales

    The Welsh dominating the Italians in the scrum is a total reversal of the natural order - next they'll be lecturing them on fashion. "I've never been so excited about a scrum, to be honest with you," says Shane Williams.

  207. 19 mins: 
    PENALTY (Halfpenny)- Italy 3-9 Wales

    We've been here before. Wales take Italy apart at a scrum, Halfpenny bisects the posts.

    Former Wales winger Shane Williams, BBC Sport in Rome

    "When you have got a player like Leigh Halfpenny who can slot the three points, it takes the pressure off the team so much."


    Danny Cunningham: "Welsh scrum absolutely obliterating the Italians at the moment - could be a long afternoon for them if it goes on like this."

  210. 15 mins: 
    PENALTY (Halfpenny)- Italy 3-6 Wales

    No mistake from Halfpenny, but Italy will be very worried about their disintegrating scrum.

  211. 15 mins: 
    Italy 3-3 Wales

    Wales smash Italy again at the scrum and the front rows exchange pleasantries. Easy shot at goal for Halfpenny.

    Jonathan Davies, BBC Sport in Rome

    "The Italians will be happy with that. They haven't been in the game - they've not had any possession or territory. One bad kick from Mike Phillips and they are back at 3-3."

    You can watch all the action from Rome on BBC One or through the video at the top of this page.

  213. 13 mins: 
    Italy 3-3 Wales

    Winger Giovanbattista Venditti breaks through for Italy but Leigh Halfpenny is equal to the task. Massive scrum for Wales earns them a penalty, much back-slapping from the visiting forwards.

  214. 10 mins: 
    PENALTY- Italy 3-3 Wales (Burton)

    Italy win a penalty at the scrum and Burton levels matters. "Soft penalty," says former Wales winger Shane Williams on BBC One.

    Jonathan Davies, BBC Sport in Rome

    "Wales deserve that lead from the pressure they have put on Italy. They have dominated territorially and need to turn that pressure into points."

    You can watch all the action from Rome on BBC One or through the video at the top of this page.

  216. 7 mins: 
    PENALTY (Halfpenny)- Italy 0-3 Wales

    Wales win the line-out and hammer way inside the Italy 22. The hosts fall off-side and Halfpenny bisects the sticks.

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Former Wales scrum-half Robert Jones in Rome:

    "Wales can see that the handling will be difficult, so they're putting pressure on early and not letting the Italian's settle."

  218. 5 mins: 
    Italy 0-0 Wales

    Italy go through the phases but get isolated and hold on, penalty Wales. Big clearance gives Wales an attacking line-out inside home 22.

  219. 3 mins: 
    Italy 0-0 Wales

    It's teeming down, says Andrew Cotter on BBC One. Feeling dry and cosy on your sofa? Wales knock on, Italy put-in.

  220. 2 mins: 
    Italy 0-0 Wales

    Big mistake from Burton. Ball passed back into 22 and the fly-half kicks it out on the full. Good position for Wales.

  221. 1 min: 
    Italy 0-0 Wales

    Dan Biggar gets us under way and Kris Burton clears for the hosts with a booming kick.

  222. 1430: 

    The anthems have been sung with gusto - ready for the action? Si! Me too.

  223. 1429: 

    Appropriately, the Stadio Olimpico stands on the Viale dei Gladiatori, so join me in a rousing pre-match exhortation: "For those about to ruck - we salute you!"


    Julia Westbury: "Backing the Azzurri to win, counting on the home crowd to make up for the loss of Parisse."

    Former Italy captain Marco Bortolami, BBC Sport in Rome

    "Sergio Parisse is a big loss for Italy. He's a great leader and a great player. He can create opportunities for the other players, so it's a huge loss."

    You can watch all the action from Rome on BBC One or through the video at the top of this page.


    Wales interim coach Rob Howley on BBC One: "This team played well in France and we have prepared well. The weather today changes it a little bit - we have to be smarter with the ball. The confidence and self-belief is there after beating France and we have to use that today.

    "What happened two weeks ago has no relevance today and the conditions are difficult, but we still want to play some good rugby. And being Welsh we're used to this type of weather!"

    Bryn Palmer, BBC Sport in Rome

    "Hammering down again as kick-off approaches. Huge cheers from crowd as Italian team read out, particularly captain Castro."

  228. 1427:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Former Wales scrum-half Robert Jones in Rome:

    "I think the weather will have an effect on the game. It's the first time it has rained during a Six Nations match in Rome since 2000. Normally we have fantastic conditions. I think it will have a bearing on both team's performances and Wales will try and keep it tight. It will be a close affair."

  229. 1424: 

    Wales are unchanged from the starting XV which beat France which means Sam Warburton and Alun Wyn-Jones are both on the bench.

  230. 1421: 

    The biggest line from the team news is clearly the absence of the world class Parisse. Inspirational leader, powerful ball carrier, defensive workhorse, he is irreplaceable and to say Ratu Manoa Vosawai has big boots to fill is to state the bleedin' obvious, so I won't.

    The hosts have also benched fly-half Luciano Orquera, so influential against France, with Kris Burton, a superior kicker, handed the 10 shirt. Prop Andrea Lo Cicero wins his 101st cap.

  231. 1416: 

    And here are the visitors:

    Wales: 15-Leigh Halfpenny; 14-Alex Cuthbert, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Jamie Roberts, 11-George North; 10-Dan Biggar, 9-Mike Phillips; 1-Gethin Jenkins, 2-Richard Hibbard, 3-Adam Jones, 4-Andrew Coombs, 5-Ian Evans, 6-Ryan Jones (captain), 7-Justin Tipuric, 8-Toby Faletau.

    Replacements: 16-Ken Owens, 17-Paul James, 18-Craig Mitchell, 19-Alun Wyn Jones, 20-Sam Warburton, 21-Lloyd Williams, 22-James Hook, 23-Scott Williams.

  232. 1415: 

    Lets have a look at the hosts shall we?

    Italy: 15-Andrea Masi; 14-Giovanbattista Venditti, 13-Tommaso Benvenuti, 12-Gonzalo Canale, 11-Luke McLean; 10-Kristopher Burton, 9-Edoardo Gori; 1-Andrea Lo Cicero, 2-Leonardo Ghiraldini (capt), 3-Martin Castrogiovanni, 4-Antonio Pavanello, 5-Francesco Minto, 6-Alessandro Zanni, 7-Simone Favaro, 8-Ratu Manoa Vosawai.

    Replacements: 16-Davide Giazzon, 17-Alberto De Marchi, 18-Lorenzo Cittadini,19- Quintin Geldenhuys, 20-Paul Derbyshire, 21-Tobias Botes, 22-Luciano Orquera, 23-Gonzalo Garcia.

  233. 1413: 

    Former Wales flanker Martyn Williams knows what it's like to taste both victory and despair in Rome, having won two and lost two.

    He's told Bryn Palmer: "Psychologically, it is a big test for Wales to back up what they did in Paris by winning in Rome."


    Hywe: "Really hope Wales can kick on from the result in Paris. Confidence is still fragile though, a bit of a ropey start and it could evaporate very quickly."


    Daniel Laytham: "I think it's going to be a tight game in Rome today but Wales will come out with a win by 15 points - C'mon you Welsh lads."

    Jonathan Davies, BBC Sport in Rome

    "It's going to be very tight and ferocious. Keeping the ball is the key thing and cutting out handling errors. It's extremely wet and that is going to be the problem for the players."

    You can watch all the action from Rome on BBC One or through the video at the top of this page.

  237. 1409: 

    Overall Wales lead 16-2 in meetings between the two sides, but both the Azzurri's wins came in Rome. The hosts are also chasing a third consecutive win at home in the Six Nations for the first time, after wins over France and Scotland in their last two matches.

    Welsh fans will need no reminding of what happened in 2007...

  238. 1404: 

    What of the Welsh? Toby Faletau's prodigious work rate will surprise no-one and the number eight has made more carries (29) than any other player so far.

    Scrum-half Mike Phillips has made by far the most passes in the tournament. His total of 154 is 52 more than second-placed Ben Youngs has managed. And they say Bayonne number nine Phillips tries to do too much on his own.

  239. 1402: 

    'More stats,' I hear you cry. Good call, here's a tasty few morsels.

    Apparently, a leopard can change its spots. The top metre makers in the competition are… Italy, with a thumping 1,017 metres in their opening two matches. For a side historically noted for their limited game plan, that's pretty impressive.

    The Azzurri have also made a staggering 37 offloads so far with Alessandro Zanni top of the individual charts with seven. That's more than they've made in every other Six Nations game they've ever played combined. Probably.


    John Mortimer, loyal England fan: "Come on Italy, it's about time you turned two of the bigger teams over."


    Elliot Levy: "To be honest, with Gori and Burton back at half backs, I can't see Italy winning this one."

    Bryn Palmer, BBC Sport in Rome

    "Good news. Mercifully, rain eased with 45 minutes to go before kick-off. We might have a decent game of rugby in Rome after all."

  243. 1358: 

    Wales fans take their hymns and arias to the spiritual home of opera as Robert Howley's men travel to Rome to face an Italian side stripped of hugely influential captain Sergio Parisse.

    An Italian team without Parisse is like a G&T without the gin - the lemon will still give it a bit of bite but you're all too aware the main ingredient is missing.

    He's the third highest carrier in the tournament this season, third highest off-loader and fifth highest metre maker,

    The Azzurri have won only one Six Nations match without Parisse (Scotland in 2010) and Italy will miss him badly.


    Injured Wales flanker Dan Lydiate: "Good luck to the Welsh boys today and to Dragons tomorrow."


    Owain Key: "I don't think I've ever been so anxious about a game against Italy."

  246. 1350: 

    It's not just about us broadcasting at you today though - I'd love you to come and join the party yourselves.

    You can either tweet us using #bbcsixnations or text us on 81111.

    I've joined Twitter as well today, feel free to drop by and say hello.

    Bryn Palmer, BBC Sport in Rome

    "Wales fly-halves Dan Biggar and James Hook practising their punting out on Stadio Olimpico pitch. Imagine be fair bit of that today."

  248. 1346: 

    For those of you waiting for the England game, which kicks off at 17:00 GMT, you'll be interested to know it's now snowing in London...


    Official RFU: "Don't forget England Women U20s are also in action today, KO 2pm at Esher RFC. And there's free entry for that game!"

  250. 1341: 

    It's rugby union's big day in the sun, and to mark the occasion we've taken over the entirety of the BBC. TV, Radio, online, even those of you somehow still following on Ceefax - we've got you covered.

    As ever, there will live text commentary to guide you through the afternoon, but if you want to watch Italy v Wales then you can do so on BBC1, BBC HD and online, from 14:00 GMT. You can also listen to radio commentary on Radio 5 live sports extra.

    It's pretty much the same deal for England's clash with France. Watch on BBC One, BBC HD and Online from 16:30, with radio commentary this time on Radio 5 live.

    And as an added bonus we've got Women's Six Nations action as well as England tackle France - follow the action from 19:10 either with me in the live text, watch on Red Button and Online, or catch the commentary on Radio 5 live sports extra.

    And if that little lot doesn't satisfy your rugby appetite, then you truly are insatiable.

  251. 1336: 

    So where are we as we enter the middle weekend of the 2013 Championship?

    Happiest will undoubtedly be England, two wins from two and sitting pretty at the top of the table. Their visitors, France, are in disarray, yet to win and bottom of the log.

    As for the other four teams it's much of a muchness, one win and one defeat apiece.

    Wales will at least take to the Stadio Olimpico pitch in confident mood after ending an eight game losing streak with victory away to France last time out, while Italy will be hoping for a repeat of their superb win over the French on the opening weekend.


    Welsh Rugby Union: "It was great to see so many Welsh supporters in Rome this morning. Hope you make yourselves heard this afternoon!"

    Bryn Palmer, BBC Sport in Rome

    "Steady rain all morning in Rome. Will that dampen Welsh expectations and ambition? Wet weather game more likely to suit Italy. Plastic sheets currently being removed from pitch, which looks in pretty decent nick considering."

  254. 1330: 

    The sap is rising, the evenings lengthening and the Six Nations cranks into action once again - don't you just love this time of year?

    Of course, the weather in the British Isles being what it is, a cold snap is never too far way, and it will be distinctly chilly in London for England v France - I suspect things will warm up significantly once the whistle blows though.

    But first we travel to Rome and if it makes those of us huddling indoors feel any better it's been hammering down in Italy.

    Not great for the travelling Welsh fans, but at least they'll feel at home…

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