France too powerful as Crowley's last game with Italy ends in heavy defeat

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France too powerful as Crowley's last game with Italy ends in heavy defeat
Crowley could only admire the superiority and class of the French in their final Pool A fixture
Crowley could only admire the superiority and class of the French in their final Pool A fixture
Reuters
Italy had hoped to at least make up for their disastrous 96-17 defeat by New Zealand when they faced France in their last game at the Rugby World Cup, instead they suffered their worst ever loss to their neighbours as they were thrashed 60-7 on Friday.

On a night when Italy gained their only points of the game just past 70 minutes and the hosts ran in eight tries, coach Kieran Crowley could only admire the superiority and class of the French in their final Pool A fixture.

"You just need to listen to the support they've got. They were too good," Crowley said.

"We gave away a lot of penalties early on and then we just didn't get any momentum because our breakdown work wasn't good enough. The interpretation sometimes left a bit to be desired but that's the way it was.

"They were just too physical, too powerful for us."

In what was Crowley's last game in charge of Italy11, the coach still spoke of his side's spirit and bright future, despite another heavy defeat.

"These boys, they'd die for you. They've got a lot of pride," he said.

"I just hope they start getting treated with a bit more respect after this. For the next World Cup cycle there will be a lot of players with 50 or 60 test matches by then so that will be good."

France's Yoram Moefana scores their eighth try
Reuters

Italy's captain Michele Lamaro, replaced just four minutes into the second half, was at a loss to describe how it felt to have won their opening two games against Namibia and Uruguay and then come nowhere close to building on that.

"We managed to put ourselves into the position we wanted to be in but unfortunately a word to describe it, I can't think of anything right now."

Lamaro denied, however, that there had been too much expectation and pressure on his team.

"Within the group we set our goals and concentrated on our performance," he said.

"Everyone reads the (media) articles but we leave that outside, so I don't think the expectations had an influence on the group."

What is undeniable is that this Italy side have failed to live up to expectations.

"The reason is quite simple. In rugby when you're struggling to play your basic game that's what happens," the captain said.

"I know that we would like to wave a magic wand but there is no such thing in this game.

"If we win the physical fight, we carry on playing. Otherwise we lose the game."

Like his coach, Lamaro admitted France were simply too strong.

"France's forwards were very powerful. To stop their attacks we need an extra man or two. It's as simple as that. I don't know what you expect as an answer," he said.

"You are drawn in by the opposing forwards and the wide spaces open up. We were ready but we lost the last two games unfortunately. It's hard to accept."

Italy end the World Cup in third place in Pool A on 10 points, enough to see them qualify for the next World Cup, but the heavy defeats by France and New Zealand leave them with little to celebrate.

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