Rugby

Paolo Garbisi says sorry for missing the late chance to make history for Italy

The Azzurri had won only once in 44 previous Championship attempts.

Paolo Garbisi missed an injury time penalty kick to give Italy a historic Six Nations victory over France
Paolo Garbisi Paolo Garbisi missed an injury time penalty kick to give Italy a historic Six Nations victory over France (Mike Egerton/PA)

Paolo Garbisi apologised for missing the injury-time penalty that denied Italy a slice of Guinness Six Nations history in France.

The scores were level at 13-13 when Garbisi stepped up from 38 metres, with Italy a successful kick away from their first Six Nations Championship away win against Les Bleus.

There was added drama as the ball toppled off its tee and, with just a few seconds left on the shot clock after it had been replaced, Garbisi rushed his kick and struck the right-hand post.

Paolo Garbisi reaches for the ball against France in Lille (Lewis Joly/AP)
France Italy Six Nations Rugby Paolo Garbisi reaches for the ball against France in Lille (Lewis Joly/AP) (Lewis Joly/AP)

“I was thinking about trusting my process really, it’s part of my job to put the kick over,” said Toulon fly-half Garbisi.

“I take full responsibility for that and I’m sorry for the team because I thought they were amazing.

“Also for all the Italian supporters, that’s my bad, and I will work on it.”

Italy had lost 45 of their previous 48 games against France with their only victory on French soil coming in 1997, three years before joining the Championship.

The Azzurri had also won only once in 44 Championship attempts, away to Wales in 2022.

Italy were forced to defend for long periods in the first half but only trailed 10-0 when France centre Jonathan Danty was dismissed for making head-to-head contact in tackling Ignacio Brex.

Danty’s yellow card on the stroke of half-time was upgraded to red during the interval by the bunker review system.

In the second half, Garbisi cut a 13-3 deficit with a penalty before his touchline conversion levelled matters after full-back Ange Capuozzo ended a fine Azzurri move.

Garbisi said: “The performance was good overall. If you get to 13-13 in the last minute with France, I think you’ve done pretty well.

“The extra man helped us in the second half. First half we spent too much time in our half, because with the possession we were not that great.

“Second half with one more man we could attack more and find space, but it all comes down to the last kick really.”

Italy players react at the end of their 13-13 Six Nations draw against France in Lille (Lewis Joly/AP)
France Italy Six Nations Rugby Italy players react at the end of their 13-13 Six Nations draw against France in Lille (Lewis Joly/AP) (Lewis Joly/AP)

While Italy remain bottom of the table, level on three points with Wales but with an inferior points difference, France stay fourth, nine points behind runaway leaders Ireland.

France’s underwhelming championship has seen them routed at home by Ireland and claiming a narrow victory over Scotland after a controversial decision not to award the hosts a try in the last action of the match.

“We were probably overplaying a little bit at the end of the game and took one too many risks and gave a penalty away,” France defence coach Shaun Edwards told ITV.

“Fortunately he missed the kick but we’re disappointed with the draw. We expected to beat Italy here.

“We had all the ball in the first half, total domination of territory and possession.

“The second half was almost the total opposite. To concede 13 points with 14 players is not too bad, but we’re disappointed we didn’t get the win.”