Hosts France romp past Italy into World Cup quarter-finals

Antoine Dupont's absence was barely felt as Matthieu Jalibert produced plenty of magic to help France punch their ticket for the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals by crushing Italy 60-7.

First five-eighth Jalibert's lightning quick passing and inspired try lifted Les Bleus to the top of Pool A with other tries by Damian Penaud (2), Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Peato Mauvaka, Yoram Moefana (2) and Thomas Ramos, who also scored 15 points from the tee.

Fabien Galthie's team, without Dupont as the mercurial scrumhalf recovers from cheekbone surgery, won all their group games and are likely to face defending champions South Africa on 15 October, even if Ireland and Scotland are still possible opponents for a place in the last four.

New Zealand, who demolished Uruguay 73-0 at the same Groupama stadium on Thursday, finished second in Pool A on 15 points, three behind France.

Italy had a huge mountain to climb, having lost their last 13 matches against France, who were on a 17-game winning streak on home soil.

The mountain proved much too high and, a week after Kieran Crowley's team suffered a 96-17 humiliation by the All Blacks, they conceded their biggest defeat against their neighbours.

The halfback pairing of club partners Maxime Lucu and Jalibert showed they were more than a replacement option as they combined perfectly throughout.

The 58,102 crowd clapped along to Italy's anthem, Fratelli d'Italia, but there was no mercy when the game started, with Penaud dotting down on his team's first phase of play for his 34th international try.

Ramos converted and added a penalty to put the hosts in the driving seat.

Bielle-Biarrey then ghosted past a couple of defenders to dive over after Jalibert and Penaud created an opportunity out of chaos in the Italian 22 metres.