Key Matchup: France vs Italy

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Italy briefly sat at the top of pool A after the first two rounds but has not moved an inch since then. 

After being absolutely mauled by the New Zealanders last week, they will need to regroup and find strength from somewhere to put up a fight against France. 

Italy has been the perennial underperformer of the 6 Nations but has also managed to cause a couple of spectacular upsets over the past 5 years. 

They are definitely capable but they don’t believe in themselves yet and struggle in putting together 80 minutes of brilliant rugby. Flashes of brilliance can bring you victory on some days, but against France, this will not be enough. There would need to be a shift in mindset and approach and they need to play this game as if their lives depended on it.

Every ruck, tackle, kick, scrum, lineout, and pass Italy can master on the field will count on the day. It will take exceptional focus as they have never done before. 

France, on the other hand, has been phenomenal. They have not shown any real signs of weakness, except for cutting it too close against Uruguay. That is the result that Italy should take some heart from. 

Despite France playing without their captain Dupont, they still have a lot of firepower across the park. 

They are ruthlessly brilliant and a far more structured team than the ones we have known in years gone by. They have now combined flair and skill with well-structured game management. 

This, along with playing in the World Cup in your home country will make this a near impossible task for Italy. 

But there are still 80 minutes of rugby that must first be played…