Italy look to make history on Sunday by securing their first victory in the Six Nations in France

Italy face France this Sunday in the Six Nations with all the odds stacked against them, but yet there is a sense that an upset may be on the cards.

Italy have only won three times against France in their history, with their two wins against Les Bleus in the Six Nations coming in Rome.

RelatedWhy did Italy join the Six Nations and what challenges do they face now?

But the Azzurri’s one victory in France came in 1997, before their induction into the Six Nations and away from the Stade de France.

Due to the 2024 Olympic Games taking place in Paris, the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy fixture will this year take place in Lille at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, but with this change, there may be an opportunity for the Italians to upset the French in the same way the Irish did in Marseille earlier in the competition.

Read more: Italy Six Nations squad

So, can Italy emulate their two victories over France in 2011 and 2013?

2011: Italy secure their first ever win at home against France

The Italians entered the game having only ever won seven of their 58 matches in the Six Nations, and very little hope was given to the Azzurri as France were in the running to win the 2011 Six Nations.

But Italy had shown flashes of their ability to challenge the likes of Ireland and Wales earlier in the tournament, but to overhaul an 18-3 deficit to win 22-21 victory was more than most could have dreamt of and a momentous result for Italian rugby in their last Six Nations match at Stadio Flaminio.

Mirco Bergamasco’s boot was vital to their victory, as he kicked five penalties and converted Andrea Masi’s try. This sensational performance by the Azzurri ensured they got to lift the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy for the first time with an inaugural win over France in the Six Nations.

2013: Italy beat France 23-18

Italy’s win over France helped inflict their only Wooden Spoon in history on les Bleus as they finished bottom of the Six Nations in 2013. French rugby had entered a period of inconsistency – a far cry from the breathtaking side we have become used to under Fabien Galthié today.

And the Italians ensured they capitalised upon that as they secured their second-ever victory at home in the Six Nations against France. A man of the match performance from Luciano Orquera helped steer the side captained by Sergio Parisse to victory.

This victory, followed by a final-day win over Ireland, ensured that the Italians finished fourth in the Six Nations for only the second time after achieving the feat in 2007 – it remains the highest position they have ever finished in the competition.

France v Italy: Azzurri’s chances in Lille

Italy have only won twice in the Six Nations since the 2013 campaign, with their 2022 win against Wales in Cardiff their most recent victory which sparked emotional celebrations.

However, throughout the 2023 campaign, there were glimpses that the Italians would secure a number of victories, as they came close against France on the opening day and against eventual Grand Slam winners Ireland.

Italy will be major underdogs on Sunday, but with their close encounter with England in round one this year and the poor performances of the French against both Ireland and Scotland, an upset may be on the cards, and Italy could write their name onto the Guiseppe Garibaldi Trophy for only the third time while also earning their first Six Nations victory over the 18-time winners of ‘rugby’s greatest championship’ in France.

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