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Summary

  1. Italy 0-29 France FT - catch up in 'Live Coverage'
  2. Maestri & Bastareaud tries for France, Plisson 2 cons
  3. Two Lopez & Plisson pens for France, one by Spedding
  4. England beat Scots on Saturday, Wales downed Irish
  5. England, Ireland & Wales look set to decide title, France retain remote chance

Live Reporting

By Mike Henson

All times stated are UK

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Rightio, that is your lot for today.

Two bona-fide thrillers and one absolute dud this weekend. Well, two out of three ain't bad as Meatloaf sang.

And "ain't bad" is understating the prospect of the final weekend to come. Italy v Wales, Scotland v Ireland, England v France - all lined up back-to-back on the BBC.

We'll see you there.

Jeremy Guscott

Former England centre on BBC One

George Ford
EPA

"George Ford is the real deal. He is such a good footballer, has such a good understanding of the game. He is smart enough to know he can't take on an 18 stone forward who's about to smash him.

"He is just a smart rugby player who in my opinion has every gift a rugby player at number 10 should have."

Jeremy Guscott

Former England centre on BBC One

"I think England will be less favoured now to win the Six Nations, given the France scoreline here. I would back England at home against anybody,. If they find the accuracy they did in the second half against Wales they will be fine.

"At home with the Championship at stake, with the pressure, I expect this side to do it because they have been in this kind of pressurised position before."

Andy Nicol

Former Scotland scrum-half on BBC One

"Scotland won't fear Ireland. They play against them in the Pro 12. They will have a crack but whether will be good enough I don't know. They have a lot of injuries. It doesn't feel like they should be bottom though. They haven't been whitewashed.

"Some years they have been and it feels like they should have been. This time it doesn't and I think they will get a result soon, hopefully at the weekend."

Keith Wood

Former Ireland hooker on BBC One

On Ireland's final game in Scotland on Saturday:

"I don't think Scotland have that full level of strength that was shown by Wales but they will be fearful too, because Scotland have been close but haven't quite got there this year. Scotland will have their day soon and it could be next week, so Ireland will have to focus."

Wales 23-16 Ireland

Jeremy Guscott

Former England centre on BBC One

"It will be interesting to see how Wales recover from the Ireland game in the space of week. They will be battered and horribly bruised and as a team that will be difficult to recover from in seven days."

Italy 0-29 France

Stuart Lancaster said he had to call an early end to a probables v possibles training match in the England camp earlier this week because it was so ferocious.

Maybe the confidence-building friendly set up by Philippe Saint-Andre in midweek set France on course for today's win.

mathieu bastareaud
Getty Images
Nicolas Mas
Getty Images

Carlo Del Fava

Former Italy lock on BBC One

"Italy have a monumental task against Wales next week. It is going to be a battle and extremely difficult, there is no getting away from that. It is a big challenge but it is not an impossible task to keep that Welsh team at bay."

The discussion on the BBC red button has switched to Ireland and whether they should have been better against Wales.

Keith Wood's domain this one. "Ireland are pretty much a team in transition. They had a horribly injury list at the start of the Six Nations, they put a gameplan in place to get over the first couple of hurdles, but it didn't work yesterday.

"They're not the most exciting but they're not trying to be. They are trying to build momentum because this is a huge year for the squad. There is a belief that this could be the opportunity for Ireland to properly achieve at a World Cup.

"But I do think Ireland could have showed more against Wales."

Keith Wood

Former Ireland hooker on BBC One

"Philippe Saint-Andre has escaped for a few days longer. Everyone I've spoken to in the French set-up says there will be no change of coach this close to the World Cup. France still expect to do really well at the World Cup. They think they can deliver."

Andrea Masi
Reuters

Italy's Andrea Masi cuts a suitably dejected figure as he speaks to BBC One:

"We were under-pressure with our set piece and struggled controlling the ball, but credit to a really well-organised French team.

"We had good confidence going into the game. We played a really passionate yet composed game against Scotland. But today we struggled controlling the ball on set-piece and when you give the ball to the French team so easily it is normal to come under pressure.

"We need a reaction against Wales next week. The last two years we have played in Rome we haven't played our best rugby and our supporters deserve a better show from us. We must stay positive and believe in ourselves, believe that we are able to play the type of good rugby we did against Scotland."

The pundits on the BBC red button are talking about the possibility of bringing other countries into the Six Nations, and of a promotion/relegation system.

"I'm a bit nervous talking about that given where Scotland are in the table at the moment," says Andy Nicol.

Keith Wood says: "I think it's a bit premature at the present moment in time, but if there are teams moving up - like Italy did in the 1990s - then they should get the chance to play two or three big games a year. That should happen now to teams like Georgia."

Jeremy Guscott's view? "Italy have beeaten everyone in the Six Nations other than England so they should be allowed to stay in. It is incredibly premature to suggest they shouldn't be involved in it."

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Former Leicester centre Terry Burwell: "France beat England by 15, Ireland lose and Wales only beat Italy by 20 and France are champions"

Keith Wood

Former Ireland hooker on BBC One

"Italy had two very kickable penalties to go 6-0 up and didn't. Suddenly because they didn't do this, the pressure builds on Italy, and it gives France encouragement - and the game went from there."

French coach
Getty Images

More from French coach Philippe Saint-Andre:

"The pressure I'm under is part of the job. I know this. I'm just very pleased with today.

"We won and that is good for the morale and the spirit of my team."

Asked about Saturday's game against England at Twickenham, the French coach said: "It is a huge game for us. England are always motivated so it is never an easy game.

"But there is no pressure on us. We will go there and see what happens during the game."

Andy Nicol

Former Scotland scrum-half on BBC One

"France's Scott Spedding is a big powerful full-back who has counter-attacked really well. I have been very impressed with him."

Italy 0-29 France

Spedding
Getty Images

French full-back Scott Spedding, one of the better players on show today, tells BBC One "it has been a frustrating few weeks" in the French camp.

"We spoke during the week and said when we get opportunities let's try and exploit them. Everyone worked hard today," Spedding says.

Asked about the standard of the game, Spedding replied: "The conditions complicated it. The field was wet, the ball was slippery - and on top of that there was a lot of pressure on our team, deservedly so, from our public because we hadn't been up to scratch.

"We can take this win in to the England match now. It does our confidence the world of good. We can take a lot from it and now we have nothing to lose at Twickenham."

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John Richards: ‏A team playing with confidence will put 60 points against italy in 6 nations. Wales anyone? AWFUL game in Rome

Lustig: What an awful game. Both Wales and England should score a hatfull next week, unless there's an improvement in those teams.

Michael Newbury: ‏And France coach St Andre survives and probably shouldn't...

Italy 0-29 France

Winning French coach Philippe Saint-Andre on BBC One: "It was an OK performance after two tough weeks. We were strong in the contact area, had a good set-piece, and scored two good tries. Of course we can do better but after what happened two weeks ago - our result against Wales, and Italy beating Scotland - we are pleased with the result."

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BBC Wales Gareth Rhys Owen on Twitter: "On behalf of the BBC, the rugby fraternity and humanity as a whole may I apologise for the last 80minutes of rugby."

Full-time

Italy 0-29 France

Andy Nicol

Former Scotland scrum-half on BBC One

"France's Mathieu Bastareaud has had the ball five or six times since he came on and he hasn't passed it once. The statistics show he has made two metres - and yet he's scored a try."

Try

Italy 0-29 France - Mathieu Bastareaud (con: Plisson)

Mathieu Basteraud celebrates his try
Reuters

The French juggernaut gets up to speed and, via a collision with the post protector, is over from close range.

Plisson slots with ease and that, thank goodness, is that.

Andy Nicol

Former Scotland scrum-half on BBC One

"Look at that statistic - 37 handling errors. That sums up the game. It's one every two minutes."

Italy 0-22 France

France are camped up on the Italy five-metre line and, awarded the penalty, Thierry Dusuatoir opts for a scrum.

They have been dominant in the last few setpieces and will surely be going for the old-school pushover.

Andy Nicol

Former Scotland scrum-half on BBC One

"Gael Fickou was one of the most exciting players when he burst onto the scene a few years ago. But where has all that ambition gone? He is just not being allowed to show it in this French team."

Italy 0-22 France

I think this game has lulled the watching crowd into a stupor. No other reason why people are still hanging around and not beating the traffic.

It has been truly dire, directionless stuff.

England and Wales will both fancy their chances of racking up big scores next weekend.

Andy Nicol

Former Scotland scrum-half on BBC One

"If you made a sci-fi movie of this game I'm not sure the plot would be believable with the amount of mistakes we've seen."

Replacement

Italy 0-22 France

Feel that tremor? Mathieu Bastareaud is on in the France centres. Damien Chouly is going to get a run at number eight in place of Loann Goujon.

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Giovanbattista Venditti forms a ruck for Italy
Getty Images

Matthew Newton: 6nations is an amazing tournament and expect a thrilling finale next weekend. However this game is awful

Andy Nicol

Former Scotland scrum-half on BBC One

"That was some really good scrambling defence by France, aggressive in the counter-rucking. They'll be thinking 'right, let's keep our defence in tact. Let's win this to zero'."

Italy 0-22 France

No cigar.

France turn over the ball and clear their lines. The Stadio Olimpico crowd have bought some of the most expensive tickets in sport if you consider value for money.

Italy 0-22 France

Penalty Italy. Again Sergio Parisse instructs his fly-half to send play into the corner and set up another line-out.

Italy 0-22 France

Italy win a penalty on the France 22m and Sergio Parisse does the only honourable thing, telling Luciano Orquera to kick into the corner.

They have got the maul rumbling off the line-out as well...

Carlo Del Fava

Former Italy lock on BBC One

Referee JP Doyle at the Italy v France match
Reuters

"Nothing has gone right for Italy today. The poor referee can't even play advantage because the mistakes are so blatant. Those mistakes lead to a lack of continuity and a lack of ability to build the phases. It causes you to lose metres and lose ground."

Italy 0-22 France

There are adverts popping up on the LCD advertising hoardings attempting to flog some tickets for Wales' visit to Rome next weekend.

That is a tough sell considering the hosts' limp performance today.

Italy 0-22 France

Under pressure five metres from their own line, Italy are given a get out of jail card by JP Doyle who rules that Rabah Slimani has engaged too early.

Carlo Del Fava

Former Italy lock on BBC One

"It doesn't make good viewing. If you were the Italian coach you would be extremely frustrated. You practice all week but the execution of individual skills is just not there today."

Italy 0-22 France

Edoardo Gori releases from the ruck for Italy
Getty Images

Italy's play has no urgency, their runners are having little impact and there is too little time anyway. This game is not going to salvage itself with a grandstand finish.