Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup Quick Hits: Hosts France too strong for Italy

Thibaud Flament wins a line out
France have won all their matches at the tournament

France finish the pool stage against Italy and Simon Mail thinks the World Cup hosts will surge to victory...

  • France gearing up for quarter-final

  • Italy suffer All Blacks mauling

  • France lifted by Dupont fitness

France v Italy
Friday, 20:00
Live on ITV

France poised for convincing win

France complete the pool stage against Italy in Lyon on Friday night and their Six Nations opponents are likely to be no match for them. The World Cup hosts have breezed through their opening three matches, including a first night victory over New Zealand.

Fabien Galthie's team have had a two-week break from action since their 96-0 thrashing of Namibia. This match was dominated by the injury to Antoine Dupont after he suffered a fractured cheekbone. There were fears it could end his tournament but the scrum-half has remarkably been cleared to compete again, in a huge boost heading towards the quarter-finals.

Italy's winning start to the competition was abruptly halted by a New Zealand onslaught. The All Blacks crushed Italy 96-17 in a chastening evening for the Azzurri. Tries from Ange Capuozzo and Monty Ioane failed to provide much consolation for Italy after their heaviest World Cup defeat for 24 years.

France have a dominant record against their opponents with Italy losing their last 13 clashes between them. It was a tight affair earlier this year in Rome with France only winning 29-24. But their three previous victories have been by at least 27 points.

The handicap mark is 26 points and this looks realistic if France are fully focused. With a huge knockout tie, in all probability against South Africa, only just over a week away as long as they avoid defeat, France can be expected to make a fast start. Les Bleus will want to put the game to bed early to avoid any doubts and the hosts can cover a 12-point first-half handicap.

Back France -12.5 to win the first-half handicap @ 10/111.91

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Who will win the Rugby World Cup? Latest betting odds

South Africa are joint favourites at 3/14.00 with Ireland to win the World Cup. France and New Zealand are both just behind them at 10/34.33 in the outright betting.

There is a significant gap to the next team, with England available at 11/112.00. Wales have shortened to 19/120.00 in the outright betting following their emphatic win over Australia, with Fiji and Argentina available at 35/136.00.

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

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