France v Italy
Maestri claims the first of two French tries on a miserable afternoon in Rome. Getty Images

Italy were held scoreless in the penultimate match of their 2015 Six Nations campaign as France eased to a 29-0 victory in a scrappy encounter in Rome that will certainly not live long in the memory.

The first half at the Stadio Olimpico was particularly ugly, with both sides struggling to adapt to the wet and windy weather conditions.

Italy captain Sergio Parisse, making a record 112<sup>th senior international appearance for his country, was his usual engaging self during the opening exchanges, but both Scott Spedding and the experienced Luciano Orquera, the latter only introduced after the hosts lost both Kelly Haimona and Tommaso Allan to injury, were guilty of spurning early chances to take the lead from the tee.

Camille Lopez did eventually break the deadlock shortly before the 30-minute mark and the Clermont fly-half added another shortly afterward before Spedding atoned for his earlier miss on the stroke of half-time to ensure that France finished a dire opening period devoid of any real quality with a nine-point advantage.

That lead was extended shortly after the break as Jules Plisson, brought on at half-time after Lopez sustained a knee problem, slotted another penalty after Parisse was guilty of not releasing and France grabbed the first try of the afternoon in the 45<sup>th minute as lock Yoann Maestri applied the finishing touches to a rare incisive attacking move.

Another three points from the reliable boot of Plisson put France further ahead before an error-strewn final 20 minutes ended with the formidable figure of replacement centre Mathieu Bastareaud bundling over the line after the visitors secured quick ruck ball under the posts.

The result leaves Philippe Saint-André's men fourth in the standings, two points behind the trio of England, Ireland and Wales heading into the final weekend of this year's tournament.

There is still a chance of success for France, but they would need to secure a big win at Twickenham next week and have other results go exclusively in their favour to stand any chance of claiming the title on points difference.