Player Ratings: Excellent to the farcical
OPINION: France were on a hiding to nothing in this match against a heavily unfancied if developing Italian outfit in Paris.
The Italians won’t get the credit they deserve for what was a very positive performance, which forced errors from a young French side.
That said, it was a frustrating French performance that varied widely from the excellent to the farcical.
15 – ANTHONY BOUTHIER 7.5
Backed up his enormous performance in Le Crunch with another tidy shift in Paris. The combination of his artillery gun boot and a diligent kick-chase game make him a potent force in the French backfield. Why he’s only started his Test career at the age of 27 is baffling. Beautiful line and pass in the 76th minute that nearly saw France cross.
14 – TEDDY THOMAS 5
Took his early try well, thanks to a great kick and some clever blocking by Vincent. A few uncharacteristic spills early on and was AWOL beyond the ball for the Italian’s 25th-minute try.
13 – ARTHUR VINCENT 6
Came in for an injured Vakatawa and while he doesn’t offer the Racing 92 man’s threat levels with ball in hand, the 20-year-old didn’t look out of place on debut. He did just enough to block a defender for Teddy Thomas’ sixth minute try.
12 – GAËL FICKOU 5.5
Gave away a penalty in the first half. He’s defensively sound but you can’t help but feel we’re not getting all there is to get from Fickou.
11 – VINCENT RATTEZ 5
Was a little indecisive on occasion when harried by the Italians. Largely kept in check by the Italians. Injured late on.
10 – ROMAIN NTAMACK 7.5
Mixed the sublime with the ridiculous. Unlucky not to score in the 17th minute and his love-hate relationship with the crossbar and posts didn’t help him in windy conditions. Had a great battle with the underrated Tomasso Allan. His 58th-minute solo effort was magnificent.
9 – ANTOINE DUPONT 8.5
All over everything, again. His break in the 17th minute directly led to a try for his captain, Ollivon. Missed a tackle directly in the lead up to Minozzi’s try but minutes later a superb pass put No.8 Alldritt over just before halftime. He’s the form 9 in the world rugby.
1 – CYRIL BAILLE 6
A relatively quiet day at the office but he made metres with every carry, averaging 1.3 post contact metres over the course of eight carries.
2 – JULIEN MARCHAND 6
Again, a little bit wobbly with his darts, albeit in uncharitable weather conditions. Made up with it in the loose.
3 – MOHAMED HAOUAS 7.5
Didn’t get it all his own way in the scrums. Carries explosively for a 127kg unit. The Montpellier prop looked to the manor born in his second Test outing.
4 – BERNARD LE ROUX 7
France’s workhorse in the engine room. He tackled all day but was one of a number of French men that gave away a needless penalty.
5 – PAUL WILLEMSE 8
One of the big man’s best games for France. His slimmed-down frame suits the 6’7 lock and it was evident with ball in hand. He’s better known for piano shifting but this was a performance that showed he’s not just a big body. Surprisingly replaced at 43 minutes.
6 – FRANCOIS CROS 7
A weapon for France in the line-outs, which isn’t a area of strength for Les Bleus. A more than competent carrier but a tackle completion rate of 66 per cent will irk.
7 – CHARLES OLLIVON (CAPTAIN) 7
The skipper made it onto the scoreboard yet again, albeit a shock range effort on this occasion. Needed to take hold of a Les Bleus side that took their eye off the ball in the final 30 minutes, going full French.
Never go full French.
8 – GREGORY ALLDRITT 7
An important turnover at 16 – 10 gave France some breathing space. In the right place at the right time for his try just before halftime. Didn’t repeat the MOTM heroics of last week but it was enough to consolidate his considerable grasp on the shirt.
16 – PEATO MAUVAKA 5
Went over the top on the Italian replacement hooker for their Azzurri’s second-half try, although Alldritt was the pillar defender. Got popped in the scrums too.
17 – JEFFERSON POIROT 5
Came on with Bamba in the 57th minute. He didn’t get so many opportunities to carry but remained busy. Again, the scrum looked worse with the trio of Poirot, Bamba and Mauvaka on.
18 – DEMBA BAMBA 5
Questions remain to be answered about his scrummaging – which he will no doubt answer. Pinged for a late high shot, which could have earned a yellow. Still learning his trade.
19 – ROMAIN TAOFIFENUA 6.5
Replaced Willemse just after halftime. Won every collision he was involved in, which is hardly surprising for the 6’8, 133kg mammoth. Got pinged once but wiped his face with an excellent poach in the 57th minute.
21 – CAMERON WOKI 6
The game had disintegrated by the time Woki came on and his French teammates had completely gone off the boil with the game more or less in the bag.
22 – BAPTISTE SERIN 8
Managed to score a fantastic solo try late on. What more can you ask of a sub? He’d be starting for any other team in this competition if it wasn’t for Dupont.
23 – MATTHIEU JALIBERT NA
Not on long enough to rate.
By Ian Cameron, @RugbyPass