EXPERT rugby stats man Russ Petty (@RPetty80) shares his views on the bets bets for the Pool D clash between France and Italy at Twickenham.
France v Italy | Saturday 20.00 | ITV4
When these teams met in March, they managed to concede a remarkable 47 turnovers and 28 penalties between them. That has set the expectation level pretty low for this game.
Italy have lost 17 of 19 games since 2014, scoring just 24 tries. Away, it is 14 defeats from 15 matches since 2013 by an average score of 31-14.
FIR President Alfredo Gavazzi referred to the team as “pensioners” this year, there has been a dispute over player payments and clubs Treviso and Zebre propped up the Pro 12 table again. On top of that, centre Luca Morisi has been ruled out of the whole tournament while influential skipper Sergio Parisse misses this game.
The Azzurri have scored only one try in the first-half of their last 10 matches against France and average six points before the break in those games.
France have scored 13 tries in their last nine games and five of those came in the high-scoring shootout in the Six Nations final round. Les Bleus average just eight points scored in the first-half in their previous nine matches and if that freak England game is ignored, the average time of their first try in this period is the 59th minute.
There are reasons then to think that the opening 40 minutes might be a bit quiet and Under 21.5 points in the first-half is 13/15 with 888.
Philippe Saint-André’s team have won the second-half by 14 and 20 points in the last couple of meetings with Italy though and their opposition average a second- half deficit of -16 points this year. Backing France -8 on the second-half Handicap is the alternative angle at 10/11 with Coral.