ROME (AP) — France finally won on the road in the Six Nations after two years by accounting for Italy 40-18 at Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.
France had lost five straight away from home, including in London and Dublin this year. But back in Rome for the first time since 2015, the French earned their first four-try bonus point.
The fourth try didn't come until the 78th minute, but the win was secured long before then.
"Even if (the bonus point) seems simple to get for some, it's hard for us," France coach Guy Noves said.
"We did our job but we again saw some shortcomings which make the big differences between us and certain teams which we can't manage to beat.
"There were all these balls dropped too easily, a lack of patience when we're capable of doing good things on the wings. I hope one day we'll find a team capable of being more clinical, of keeping the ball for the time it needs. Because it's very difficult to score tries."
France jumped to third in the standings, level on points with second-placed Ireland. It hosts Wales in the last round next week.
"A fortnight ago I said we weren't going anywhere. Today, we advanced a bit," Noves said. "What's important is not to take two steps back in a week's time against Wales."
Italy is certain of finishing last again, for the third time in four years.
"It's very hard to talk after this defeat," Italy coach Conor O'Shea said. "We were very competitive in the first half, we did a lot of good things but we got nothing: France was better than us.
"But I believe in this group. Today was very different to the (63-10) defeat against Ireland."
Italy earned admiration and some scorn in the last round for reading the rulebook and innovatively not contesting rucks against England. The defending champion was limited to winning 36-15.
There was no new tactic this time, only attack. But France's pack gradually assumed control, and stole three lineout throw-ins and two scrum put-ins from Italy.
Captain Sergio Parisse scored a try from an offload by flyhalf Carlo Canna, and Italy held a five-point lead thanks to a withering start until a Gael Fickou dummy and burst ended with a converted try in the 21st minute. France was back in front and didn't let go.
A brilliant tackle from fullback Edoardo Padovani cut down France winger Virimi Vakatawa five meters from the line just before halftime, but he got his try early in the new half.
Canna stopped counterpart Camille Lopez, but he offloaded to Vakatawa, who strolled to between the posts.
Italy thought it had a second try 10 minutes later but replacement back Giorgio Bronzini was prevented from touching down by fullback Brice Dulin's arm.
No. 8 Louis Picamoles scored France's third try in the 67th, wheeling off the back of an attacking scrum, and France pushed harder for the bonus-point fourth try.
They thought they had it four minutes later when prop Eddy Ben Arous went over, but the TMO ruled Picamoles was tackled into touch in the buildup.
Dulin secured the bonus point in the 78th, which left time enough for Italy to score a consolation try to winger Angelo Esposito.
But consolation is relative. In four matches so far, Italy has scored only 12 points in the second half, while conceding 120. It goes to Scotland next week.