Player ratings: France
OPINION: France have topped Pool A and claimed their spot in the World Cup quarterfinals with a comprehensive win over Italy in Lyon.
After suffering a shell-shocking against the All Blacks last weekend, Italy were expected to put up more of a fight against their European neighbours but it took less than two minutes for Damian Penaud to grab the first try of the night.
Three further scores followed in the first half and the home team went into the break with a comfortable 31-0 lead.
The second spell went even better for Les Bleus, with the World Cup hosts scoring another 39 points to triumph 60-7 after 80 minutes.
How did France rate in the win?
1. Cyril Baille – 7/10
An ever-willing carrier in the midfield. Off in 55th minute.
2. Peato Mauvaka – 8
Monsieur Everywhere for France. Showed soft hands when delivering the ball to teammates, making almost as many passes as fullback Thomas Ramos in the first half, but also showed plenty of intent when charging forward. Pinged once for not rolling away at the tackle. Nice work in the breakdown immediately after half time secured a penalty for France. Scored a relatively straightforward try off the back of the maul when the Azzurri forwards decided they weren’t interested in defending. Generally accurate a the lineout – but not perfect. Off in 55th minute.
3. Uini Atonio – 7
Like his front-row teammates, put his hand up to cart the ball up in the first half. Hit plenty of rucks and forced one penalty at scrum time. Off in 45th minute.
4. Cameron Woki – 7
France’s key man in the air, securing the ball on seven occasions. A nice offload in the opening minutes gave France some room to move in the build-up to their first score. Forced a maul turnover just metres out from Italy’s line with some wily work at the lineout and also claimed a lineout steal.
5. Thibaud Flament – 5
Toiled away at the breakdown and defended resolutely but faded into the background. Off in 45th minute.
6. Anthony Jelonch – 7
Delivered a few strong spot tackles on unsuspecting Italian ball carriers. Always tucked in behind his teammates on attack to help create a bit of extra momentum.
7. Charles Ollivon – 8
France’s Captain Fantastic was hugely industrious on both sides of the ball. Took some crucial lineouts in Italy’s red zone and also managed one steal. Off in 55th minute.
8. Gregory Alldritt – 9
The man with the infinite engine. Constantly trucked the ball up with intent, making the most carries of any player on the field, and eventually finished as France’s top tackler with 15 to his name. Earned one breakdown penalty at the beginning of the second quarter.
9. Maxime Lucu – 7
He’s not Antoine Dupont, but he was safe as houses deputising in the No 9 jersey. Notched up some excellent distance with his box kicks and looked sharp at the base of the ruck.
10. Matthieu Jalibert – 9
Continues to build into the role. Regularly challenged the line to great effect. Nice hands helped set up France’s first try of the night. Created the bonus-point score with a perfectly weighted kick for Damian Penaud. Scored one of his own after the break, waltzing around a couple of defenders close to the line. Added another assist early in the final quarter. Kicked an excellent 50-22 from inside his own 22 with time almost up. Sent one penalty dead.
11. Louis Bielle-Biarrey – 7
Some outstanding footwork saw the left wing grab Les Bleus’ second try. Chased down Paolo Garbisi to shut down what was looking like a probably try for the Azzurri. Had oodles of pace but didn’t get the ball in as much space as he would have liked.
12. Jonathan Danty – 7
Added some nice starch in the centre of the park when France needed to reset. Showed off his great work over the ball, forcing two penalties at the breakdown.
13. Gael Fickou – 5
Straightened the line but otherwise had a relatively quiet night. Made one sneaky steal when at the back of the ruck when Italy were building their phases. Penalised for advancing in front of the kicker. Off in 61st minute.
14. Damian Penaud – 8
Grabbed the first try of the night when he swapped from the right-hand flank to the left to finish off a nice Les Bleus attack. Swept around the backline (and three Italian defenders) to create another scoring opportunity for his team but then grubbered the ball into touch when there were better options available. Made amends with his kicking game moments later when he dinked a ball over the top to Bielle-Biarrey to give the left winger the space needed to score France’s second. Cut in-field and delivered an offload to Thomas Ramos for their third then made no mistakes off a Jalibert cross-kick for the bonus point try. Had a much quieter second half but had already done plenty of damage in the first.
15. Thomas Ramos – 7
Assured as a first receiver. Set up France’s opening try with a lovely draw and pass to send Penaud in untouched. Sent one clearance dead but then nailed a 48-metre penalty when the play was called back for an Italian offside. Kicked seven of his eight attempts on the posts to help keep the scoreboard ticking over. Off in 61st minute.
16. Pierre Bourgarit – 7
On in 55th minute. Safe at lineout tie and make some excellent carries in the narrow channels.
17. Reda Wardi – 5
On in 55th minute. No issues at the set-piece but didn’t get too involved elsewhere.
18. Dorian Aldegheri – 6
On in 45th minute. Made plenty of tackles in his time on the pitch.
19. Romain Taofifenua – 6
On in 45th minute. Looked great when France had front-foot ball.
20. Francois Cros – 5
On in 55th minute. Put his head down and went to work at the breakdown.
21. Baptiste Couilloud – 6
On in 55th minute. Maintained the pace of delivery established by Lucu. Made a couple of nice cover tackles when Italy spotted some small holes in the defence.
22. Yoram Moefana – 7
On in 61st minute. Made one nice carry down the left flank then scored in the right-hand corner moments later. Grabbed his second with five minutes left to play. Had to tidy up the ball in the other in-goal following the kick-off.
23. Melvyn Jaminet – 6
On in 61st minute. Not quite as composed at the back as Ramos.