It was so close to history – Italy had never, ever beaten France in France in the Six Nations. And with the scores tied at 13-13 and a final penalty awarded to Italy in kicking range, it looked for all the world like we were in for a huge shock.

However, with the shot clock for the kick ticking down, the ball fell off the tee at the worst possible time. Kicker Paolo Garbisi had to hastily replace the ball and with the shot clock in single digits he rushed through his preparations. He took his snapshot but the penalty struck the post. France were tackled into touch for the game to end with a France and Italy draw.

France never quite clicked, and ended up playing the whole second half a player down.

Referee Christophe Ridley sent centre Jonathan Danty off after a direct, head-on-head hit on Juan Ignacio Brex in the tackle. The La Rochelle flew out to make a door-slamming hit but was upright in what was ruled an illegal shot.

Captain Charles Ollivon did score the only try of the first half, with the officials ruling that what looked like a miscontrolled carry from the back-row was actually held and that he crossed the line legitimately. The on-field decision originally was for a try and the TMO could find no reason not to stick with the original call.

France and Italy draw

Paolo Garbisi is consoled by Michele Lamaro (Getty Images)

But having struggled for continuity for a lot of the match, Italy got the bit between their teeth in the second and pulled things square after replacement centre Leonardo Marin squeezed through a gap and worked the ball to Ange Capuozzo, who went over for a try.

With Italy piling on the pressure, the ball was run back by Yoram Moefana, but Manuel Zuliani got over the ball to win a jackal penalty.

It fell to Garbisi – in several senses, sadly for him – and fans had to make do with a France and Italy draw.

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