The penultimate round of Six Nations fixtures sees two teams with identical records meet in Rome as Italy and France lock horns with the aim of putting breathing space between each other.
Both Italy and France have won once and lost twice in the tournament so far, but it’s arguably the underdogs who will take to Stadio Olimpico in a better position to achieve victory.
Unlike largely unwarranted 4/11 favourites France who were bruised by defeat in Paris to Wales last time, Italy arrive off the back of an invigorating win in Scotland, just the Azzurri’s second on foreign soil in the tournament’s history.
This is not the sole reason Italy’s price of 12/5 looks on the delightful side of things though.
Despite the strength of Top 14 clubs in Europe, the French national team continues to underwhelm on the Six Nations stage and facing a talented Italy side Les Bleus look vulnerable to defeat in Rome.
Although historically it’s the French who operate with the Latin flair the boys in lighter blue used to aspire to, Italy have actually scored five tries (and one penalty try) to France’s two in the competition.
Three of those arrived against England at Twickenham, while there is little to split the teams on overall ball possession at the tournament, where Les Tricolores have retained 49.37 per cent to 46 for the Azzurri.
The strength of the Italian pack has also impressed, winning 18 scrums to France’s 10, so that could be another key area in the underdogs favour.
Notoriously flaky travellers too, Phillipe Saint-Andre’s charges lost 23-18 on their last Six Nations trip to Rome two years ago.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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