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Vakatawa with debut try as Novès' France reign begins in victory

Les Bleus made a winning start to life under Guy Noves.

GUY NOVES’ REIGN as France coach began with victory thanks to Jules Plisson’s huge penalty with four minutes left in a 23-21 win over Italy at Stade de France.

The opening French try was scored by wing Vakatawa, after some high-quality passing and offloading by Jules Plisson, Paul Jedrasiak, Louis Picamoles and Maxime Médard.

Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube

Sergio Parisse crossed at the back of a powerful Italian maul as Jacques Brunel’s men responded after 27 minutes.

Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube

However, another excellent French try sent the home side back in front soon after.

This time, a quick-tap penalty allowed Médard and Wenceslas Lauret to feed Damien Chouly in the right corner for a 10-8 lead. Michele Campagnaro almost brought a second Italian try just before the break after an incisive contribution from out-half Carlo Canna, but was dragged down short of the tryline.

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Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube

The Italians came out of the interval in powerful fashion, kicking a penalty and then building an excellent team try finished by out-half Canna.

Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube

The French made errors with ball in hand as they forced offloads, but another surge from Vakatawa led to their third try. Les Bleus shifted the ball wide to the left, where centre Jonathan Danty put Hugo Bonneval over in the corner.

Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube

Ultimately, it was the boot of Plisson that made the difference, as the Stade Français man fired over a penalty inside the closing five minutes to hand France an opening-day win.

Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube

Parisse attempted a drop goal with the last action of the game but his effort sailed wide.

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Murray Kinsella

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