Sports

Italy miss chance to beat France in dramatic draw

Italy were denied a first away win against France in almost three decades and a first in the Six Nations as Paolo Garbisi’s last-gasp penalty hit the post in a 13-13 stalemate on Sunday.

Garbisi almost ran out of time to kick the penalty after the 80th minute, before watching his effort hit the upright as Italy just missed out on their second victory on French soil since a 40-32 win in Grenoble in 1997. France played the second half with 14 men following Jonathan Danty’s red card.

“This was part of my job and I didn’t do it well, that’s why I apologise to my team mates and the whole country of Italy,” a dejected Garbisi said.

“A draw is a good result but winning would have been better, there was the space for it. It’s on me. It’s going to stay in my head for a while.”

The result left France’s hopes of clinching the title in tatters after they could only score through Charles Ollivon’s try and three penalties by Thomas Ramos.

Italy, without a win the Six Nations since 2022, scored a try by Ange Capuozzo, a Martin Page-Relo penalty and points from the boot of Garbisi.

“It’s tough, really tough. We’ve had a lot of chances in the first half when we could have scored three or four tries,” France centre Gael Fickou said.

“We will have regrets I think. We’re still good friends,” Italy and Stade Toulousain fullback Capuozzo said.

France, without mercurial scrum-half Antoine Dupont — who has temporarily switched to Rugby Sevens for the Paris Olympics — and injured fly-half Romain Ntamack, were rewarded for a blistering start with Ollivon try’s and a penalty by Ramos.

They were all over Italy but missed a handful of clear try chances with handling errors and some poor choices, making simple things too complicated.

Flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert then left the pitch with a knee injury, prompting a major reshuffle with Thomas Ramos moving up to No. 10 and Matthis Lebel, who was called up on Saturday after Louis Bielle-Biarrey pulled out injured, taking up the fullback role as Yoram Moefana came in on the wing.

France reached halftime on a sour note as centre Danty was sin-binned for head-on-head contact with Juan Ignacio Brex and the yellow card was upgraded to a red.

A trade of penalties maintained a seven-point advantage for France but Italy came knocking with increased pressure.

With 10 minutes left, Capuozzo collected a pass from Leonardo Marin and dived over in the corner before Garbisi converted to level.

As France pushed for the win in the dying seconds, Italy were awarded a penalty after the clock had turned red but the ball fell from the tee and Garbisi was left with a handful of seconds to kick it.

The ball sailed low and crashed onto France’s left post, leaving both teams with huge regrets.

“The ball falling [from the tee], I don’t think it happens a lot,” Capuozzo said.

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