The form of the Azzurri in the last few years – they have not won in the Championship since 2015 – has led to calls for a relegation system to be implemented in the competition.
At the time, France led 20-14 and a converted try would have inched Italy ahead but, with a minute remaining, Penaud crossed for his side’s third score as the visitors completed a hard-earned victory.
France, who had not won away from home in the last two years, fell 6-0 down following a brace of Tommaso Allan penalties but they went in ahead at the break thanks to Antoine Dupont’s try, converted by Romain Ntamack, who added a penalty.
FULL-TIME: ITA 14-25 FRA@FFRugby claim their second win of the 2019 #GuinnessSixNations as @RomainNtamack inspires victory over @Federugby in Rome#ITAvFRA #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/A9tWazv3FN
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) March 16, 2019
Yohan Huget’s 47th-minute try gave France some breathing room but Italy responded through Tito Tebaldi before the hour – although some wayward kicking from Allan proved costly.
Italy attacked the line in the closing stages and Zanon crossed in the left corner, only for the TMO to rule that the ball had been taken out of his hands by Penaud before touching down.
Penaud then went up the other end to score as France ended their Six Nations campaign with victory, condemning Italy to yet another defeat.
Italy: J Hayward (Benetton); E Padovani (Zebre), M Zanon (Benetton), L Morisi (Benetton), A Esposito (Benetton); T Allan (Benetton), T Tebaldi (Benetton); A Lovotti (Zebre), L Ghiraldini (Toulouse), T Pasquali (Benetton), D Sisi (Zebre), F Ruzza (Benetton), A Steyn (Benetton), J Polledri (Gloucester), S Parisse (Stade Francais, capt).
Replacements: L Bigi (Benetton), C Traore (Benetton), S Ferrari (Benetton), A Zanni (Benetton), S Negri (Benetton), G Palazzani (Zebre), I McKinley (Benetton), L Sperandio (Benetton).
France: M Medard (Toulouse); D Penaud (Clermont Auvergne), M Bastareaud (Toulon), W Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), Y Huget (Toulouse); R Ntamack (Toulouse), A Dupont (Toulouse); E Falgoux (Clermont Auvergne), G Guirado (Toulon, capt), D Bamba (Brive), F Lambey (Lyon), P Willemse (Montpellier), G Alldritt (La Rochelle), Y Camara (Montpellier), L Picamoles (Montpellier).
Replacements: C Chat (Racing 92), D Priso (La Rochelle), D Aldegheri (Toulouse), P Gabrillagues (Stade Francais), A Iturria (Clermont Auvergne), B Serin (Bordeax-Begles), C Lopez (Clermont Auvergne), T Ramos (Toulouse).
Referee: Matt Carley (England).
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (Wales) and Andrew Brace (Ireland).
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