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Player Ratings: France

OPINION: After a rusty second match that saw France’s reserves struggle to shake a feisty Uruguay side, Les Bleus have put Namibia to the sword to right the ship ahead of a well-earned rest week.

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It took just six minutes for France to get on the board through winger Damian Penaud, and from there the tries just kept coming. By halftime, France held a 54-0 lead with a further 42 points added in the second spell.

How did Les Bleus rate in the 96-0 win?

1. Cyril Baille – 6/10
Strong at the set-piece. Exerted plenty of pressure on his opposite at scrum time, earning his side one penalty. Otherwise, a relatively quiet return to the field – but France will just be happy to have him back. Off at halftime.

2. Peato Mauvaka – 8
Had a couple of dodgy moments a the lineout early doors but eventually found his mark. Threw a nice no-look pass to his right to assist Damian Penaud’s second try. Almost created another from a similar position towards the end of the first half but lost the ball forward as he tried to get the pass away. Had no issues replicating the feat early in the second half, however. Showed soft hands in the midfield on more than one occasion. Julien Marchand made be France’s top hooker, but Mauvaka is a superb back-up. Off in 54th minute.

3. Uini Atonio – 7
Carried hard, always requiring at least a couple of defenders to be brought to deck. Pressure at the breakdown helped France earn their first penalty of the game. Part of a well-oiled tight five. Off at halftime.

4. Cameron Woki – 8
A champion in the air. Nailed each of his kick-off receptions and was Mauvaka’s primary target at the lineouts, grabbing seven in the first half. Didn’t see much ball in open play but ensured his teammates always had possession to work from. Off at halftime but returned for a brief spell in the second stanza.

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5. Thibaud Flament – 7
Ran a nice line off Anthony Jelonch to grab a try. Not used at the lineout in the first half but became the main man once Woki departed. Beyond only his blindside flanker in the tackle department.

6. Francois Cros – 7
Wasn’t able to get involved in the expansive attacking play but threw himself into defence whenever Namibia held possession, topping the tackle charts with 17 to his name. Dropped a kick-off cold and was then penalised for holding on when the Namibian cavalry arrived.

7. Charles Ollivon – 8
Kept pace with his backs to finish off an excellent team try then finished another counterattack later in the match after throwing an audacious dummy. Always willing with the ball in hand but equally did his part on defence.

8. Anthony Jelonch – 6
Put in a couple of solid hits when Namibia had some extended possession early in the second quarter. An error at the back of the scrum on France’s 22 almost proved costly. Was unlucky not to score off a Mauvaka pass which drifted forward, but then assisted a score for Flament moments later. Off in 54th minute.

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9. Antoine Dupont – 10
A well-placed cross kick out to the wing created the first try of the evening. His linebreak down the right-hand flank eventually resulted in the third. A wee dart and short pass from the back of a maul handed France their fifth and a stupendous run/cross-kick combo after the halftime hooter produced the eighth score of the night. Found some excellent ground from the base of the ruck whenever he put boot to ball. Managed to score one try of his own in the first half to round off the exceptional performance. What more could you ask for? Off in 46th minute.

10. Matthieu Jalibert – 7
Found some excellent distance (and space) with his first few kicks. Showed off some lovely hands as France scored their third try. A floated skip pass was grabbed out of the air by
Divan Rossouw and would’ve resulted in a try to Namibia had the play not been pulled back for a dangerous tackle on Dupont. Off in 54th minute.

11. Louis Bielle-Biarrey – 7
Cleverly flicked the ball back in-field from a Jalibert kick to create a try. Leaped into the air to pick off a Dupont kick and score one of his own. The highlight came in the 63rd minute, however, when he produced a length-of-the-field score thanks to his impressive pace.

12. Jonathan Danty – 8
Was in the right place at the right time to nab France’s second try of the night. Showcased his power game en route to their fifth. Won a breakdown penalty right on France’s try line to snuff out any hope of a Namibia try.

13. Gael Fickou – 8
Destructive on both sides of the ball. Threw a nice skip pass to open France’s attack for the game and took advantage whenever the Namibia defence was misaligned. On more than one occasion hauled an opposition ball runner over the sideline to shut down a play.

14. Damian Penaud – 9
A very average kick halted France’s first attacking foray. Made amends with some nice footwork to score Les Bleus’ first try and then ran in for their bonus point score in the 22nd minute. Earnt his hattrick at the end of the third quarter and also contributed three assists. Found space and made plenty of ground almost every single time he touched the ball.

15. Thomas Ramos – 8
Missed his first attempt on the posts from out wide but nailed every other shot of the night to finish with 24 points to his name. A nice chip-and-chase counter-attack from inside France’s 22 ignited another eventual score for the World Cup hosts. Shifted to 10 late in the match and looked sharp. Major blemish was kicking the ball dead from just outside his own 22 shortly following halftime.

Replacements:

16. Pierre Bourgarit – 6
On in 54th minute. Accurate at the lineout but unsurprisingly couldn’t have as much of an impact as the man he replaced.

17. Reda Wardi – 5
On at halftime. Quickly got involved with a nice carry. A late tackle on Jacques Theron scratched out what would have been Baptise Couilloud’s second try of the evening. Copped another penalty for a no-arms tackle at the end of the third quarter. No issues at scrum time.

18. Dorian Aldegheri – 6
On at halftime. Beavered around on defence and helped maintain the set-piece dominance.

19. Romain Taofifenua – 6
On at halftime. Levelled a couple of ball carriers with some massive hits.

20. Paul Boudehent – N/A
On in 54th minute. Lasted just 90 seconds before taking a bad knock and having to depart.

21. Baptiste Couilloud
On in 46th minute. Bagged a try off a rolling maul. Intercepted a Namibian pass minutes later and scampered the length of the field for what should’ve been a second. Quick to the breakdown and helped Les Bleus maintain their pace.

22. Yoram Moefana – N/A
On in 65th minute.

23. Melvyn Jaminet – 8
Made a great break with his first touch but held onto the ball when he should have passed. Regardless, France scored from the next breakdown. Showed great wheels to race back and cover a Namibian intercept. Finished off a nice move when France outflanked their opposition late in the game.

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