France beat Italy 40-18 in Rome on Saturday to keep their slim Six Nations title dreams alive, at least few a few hours.
The French played far from their best rugby to triumph in perfect conditions at Stadio Olimpico, running through the softest defence Italy has mounted so far this season to score four tries and collect a potentially valuable bonus point.
Powerful centres Gael Fickou and Virimi Vakatawa scored a try each for France, with team mates Louis Picamoles and Brice Dulin also crossing the chalk. Flyhalf Camille Lopez was flawless with the boot, amassing 20 points off the tee.
For Italy, captain Sergio Parisse scored in the third minute and Angelo Esposito on the final siren, but their downfall lay in defence and the scrum. Italy missed more than 50 tackles.
France will be hoping for Scotland to snap England’s 17-match winning streak later on Saturday at Twickenham to retain at least a mathematical chance of lifting the trophy.