Six Nations: France 34-17 Italy
|Six Nations: France v Italy|
|France (11) 34|
|Tries: Gabrillagues, Bonneval, Bastareaud Cons: Machenaud, Trinh-Duc Pens: Machenaud 5|
|Italy (7) 17|
|Tries: Penalty, Minozzi Con: Canna Pen: Allan|
France ended their winless run with an ultimately comfortable win in Marseille to continue Italy's Six Nations misery.
The hosts - playing a Six Nations home match away from Paris for the first time - wasted countless chances before eventually putting away a tiring Italy.
With centre Mathieu Bastareaud excelling on his return, France ran in three tries to win for the first time in nine games.
Italy have now lost a record 15 straight Six Nations matches.
Conor O'Shea's side were in touch at half-time but had no answer to France in the second half, who missed several chances to pick up a fourth try and a bonus point, before full-back Matteo Minozzi's late consolation try for Italy.
After defeats by Ireland and Scotland in their opening two games of the tournament and players dropped from the team following "inappropriate behaviour", Jacques Brunel's first victory as France coach was paramount.
His side, without a win in eight games, were disjointed at times, but eventually delivered.
Bastareaud, who had returned from suspension after making a homophobic comment while playing for Toulon, was key.
The powerful centre consistently crossed the gain line to give his side momentum and quick ball.
Italy led after their early penalty try and could have done again in the second half when, with France four points up, Sebastian Negri broke through.
But the cover defence hauled the flanker to the ground and three minutes later Hugo Bonneval was sent over after good work by Bastareaud and wing Remy Grosso.
France's strength in depth told in the final quarter as their replacements came off the bench and Italy tired with Bastareaud burrowing over from close range.
Italy are now faced with the prospect of a third successive wooden spoon, while France will relish the chance to upset England in Paris in their next match on 10 March.
What they said
Italy coach Conor O'Shea: "I'm proud of the fight, we were taking a pounding but we scrapped to the end. When you give away that many penalties, you are in trouble but you saw ambition to the end.
"This is a long, hard road. We have to improve and we will turn the corner. You come here preparing to win but it will take a few days to digest. We will grow and grow and grow and we will have the last laugh.
"We never said we would win grand slams but we are working hard to make us a strong rugby country."