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Nothing which followed during an eventful match in Cardiff or at Twickenham 24 hours later could match Sergio Parisse’s team and the historic nature of their achievement.
In a glorious last quarter at the Stadio Flaminio, Italy sprang the biggest surprise not just of the season but of the entire RBS 6 Nations since they joined it in 2000.
In doing so, they restored public faith in the tournament’s capacity for the unexpected and put rugby on the front pages of Italy’s newspapers like never before.
A country obsessed with another code of football found the room demanded by their rugby players to acclaim some new heroes.
The headline in the Rome-based sports daily, Corriere dello Sport, said it all: Che trionfo l’Italia del rugby – Francia KO.
Not to be outdone, La Gazzetta dello Sport gave the match similar prominence on its front page: Storica Italia.
In 31 previous matches against France, the Azzurri had lost the lot except for one, a stunning win in Grenoble seven days after the French had taken care of one of the last Grand Slams of the old Five Nations.
They had turned their biennial trip to Rome into the biggest away win in the championship, averaging 45 points on each of their five previous visits.
Twelve points adrift well into the second half, Italy were in distinct danger of losing for the 31st time in 32 attempts until it dawned on them that at last France were there for the taking.
They generated a controlled fury which brought the holders to their knees and made stars of such hitherto unsung players as Parisse’s back-row colleague, Alessandro Zanni from Benetton Treviso, and the full-back, Andrea Masi, one of a platoon of players drawn from the French Top 14.
The riotous sound from ecstatic home fans provided an emphatic answer to anyone questioning Italian passion for the game.
Wales will hope to exploit the fragile French state-of-mind when the tournament finishes at the Stade de France on Saturday night.
Mathematically, they are still in without a shout, albeit a faint one. England would have to lose heavily in Dublin and Wales win by the length of the Champs Elysees to complete a 42-point swing and end up as champions.
Highly improbable scenarios have been known to happen on the last round of the championship with 1999 a classic example.
Nobody gave Scotland a realistic chance when they went to Paris for their last match in 1999.
The Scots, captained by Gary Armstrong, had to win with something spare which they duly did, 36-22.
They could then only hope that the unfancied Welsh would somehow derail the English Grand Slam chariot at Wembley on the Sunday, which they duly did thanks to Scott Gibbs’ sensational late solo try and Neil Jenkins’ inevitable conversion for the win, 32-31.
Wales finally made home advantage count against Ireland thanks to the lucky break of a try which ought to have been disallowed.
Mike Phillips’ solo blindside dash would have counted for nothing had the officials realised that the quick throw which made it possible had broken the law on two counts.
The ball was not the one which had been kicked out and even if it had been, the fact that a ball-boy touched it made a quick throw illegal.
The issue has, inevitably, raised questions over the wider use of technology.
IRB protocol decrees that the Television Match Official can adjudicate only on in-goal decisions.
My view is that its scope should be widened to cover the act of scoring a try which would have allowed the referee, Jonathan Kaplan, recourse to the TMO, in this case Geoff Warren, which would have meant rewinding the tape a matter of seconds.
Ireland would be wrong to cite that one incident as the reason why they lost. Wales deserved to shade it and their supporters with long memories will have recalled Paul Dean’s critical try in an Irish win at the Arms Park despite a knock-on which the referee didn’t see.
In hindsight, it is not difficult to see that Ireland had given Wales a lucky break seconds before the wrong-ball try.
They did so by taking Ronan O’Gara off with half an hour remaining and sending Jonathan Sexton on in a tactical move which back-fired.
Scotland went the full distance at Twickenham in a way few outside their camp could have imagined by pushing England closer than anyone else in the championship hitherto.
Max Evans’ sharply-executed try, overdue reward for his enterprise in recent weeks, kept the Scots within striking distance of matching Italy until they conceded a short-range penalty with barely 60 seconds left.
Jonny Wilkinson doesn’t miss those, whether it’s the first minute or the last, or any time in between.
My Six Nations team of the weekend:
15 - Andrea Masi (Italy)
14 - Tommy Bowe (Ireland)
13 - Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)
12 - Gonzalo Canale (Italy)
11 - Mirco Bergamasco (Italy)
10 - James Hook (Wales)
9 - Mike Phillips (Wales)
1 - Paul James (Wales)
2 - Rory Best (Ireland)
3 - Martin Castrogiovanni (Italy)
4 - Paul O’Connell (Ireland)
5 - Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales)
6 - Alessandro Zanni (Italy)
7 - James Haskell (England)
8 - Sergio Parisse (Italy).
Hooker - Matthew Rees (Wales)
Prop - Andrea Lo Cicero (Italy)
Second row - Richie Gray (Scotland)
Back row - Sam Warburton (Wales)
Scrum-half - Fabio Semenzato (Italy)
Fly-half - Jonny Wilkinson (England)
Wing-full back - Chris Paterson (Scotland)