‘I didn’t do my job properly’: Italy star apologises to fans after missing golden chance for France upset

Italy five-eighth Paolo Garbisi has hit the post with a last-gasp penalty to let 14-man France off the hook in a tense 13-13 draw in the Six Nations.

Garbisi had the chance to give Italy the biggest win in their history and their first away to France in the Six Nations – but he was left crestfallen and apologetic after the miss.

The goal kick was barely more than 30 metres out and slightly to the left for the left-footer.

With the shot clock on, the ball wobbled off the tee with 14 seconds left. Garbisi put it back in place and finally kicked it with just four seconds to go, only for it to smack off the right upright.

French commentary of Garbisi’s penalty that ALMOST won it for Italy over France.

How did the ball fall off the tee??? It’s indoors! There’s no wind!pic.twitter.com/Zvi2YPRjEh

— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) February 25, 2024

Garbisi held his head in his hands – and his apology followed.

“I should have been up to the task of doing this job, I didn’t do it well enough in this moment,” he said on French television.

Paolo Garbisi of Italy looks dejected after missing a last minute, match winning penalty during the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between France and Italy at Stade Pierre Mauroy on February 25, 2024 in Lille, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“I didn’t do my job properly. That’s why I would like to say sorry to my teammates and my country.”

Italy have beaten France twice in Rome in the Six Nations, but their only win on French soil predated the tournament in 1997 in Grenoble. The last time they met, France crushed them 60-7 in October in Lyon during the Rugby World Cup.

“It’s a good result but winning is better,” Garbisi said. “It will stay in my mind for a while.”

France should have buried Italy by halftime. They dominated the first spell but converted only one try chance of at least four as Italy defended superbly, making 112 tackles in the half, more than twice as many as the hosts.

But France started the second half only 10-3 up and short a man after centre Jonathan Danty’s yellow card was upgraded to red during the break. He committed a dangerous head-on-head tackle of opposite centre Juan Ignacio Brex at the end of the first half.

The French couldn’t click in the second half and Italy’s confidence grew the longer France failed to score. The home side added only a second Ramos penalty.

France’s failure to challenge for the title, just months after soaring at the World Cup, will turn more heat on the team and coach Fabien Galthie.

France are fourth in the standings with Wales away and England at home to come.

Italy’s second penalty kick of the game by Garbisi after Marchand infringed, restored a seven-point deficit with 20 minutes left.

Right winger Tommaso Menoncello smashed through up the middle and within five phases they were in the France 22.

Replacement No.10 Leonardo Marin offloaded brilliantly to Capuozzo to touch down in the left corner. Garbisi converted from the touchline to level the scores with 10 minutes to go, only to then miss the biggest kick of his career.

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