RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - France dominated Italy in the men's team epee final on Sunday to take their first fencing gold medal in Rio and cap a rebound from their disappointment on the pistes four years ago.

France's win over their longstanding rival, achieved without dropping a bout in the final, gave them a record ninth team gold in men's epee.

Reflecting on the journey to Rio from the 2012 Games in London, where French fencers left without a medals for the first time since 1960, France's coach Hugues Obry said it was "four years of doubts."

"We know that with our medal, no one can take that away from us, same as in (London), no one can take that away from us," he said.

Top-ranked Gauthier Grumier, who won individual bronze on Tuesday, was substituted for Jean-Michel Lucenay in the final after scoring an aggregate 12-16 in the first two rounds.

"My role was ... to be here for my team mates and to guide them because I wasn't fencing in the final. So I was here to tell them, 'Go ahead and take your chance,'" said Grumier.

(Reporting by Brad Haynes. Editing by Patrick Johnston)