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Player Ratings: France

OPINION: Considering this was a second-string France side, you might have expected a drop in standard from the Les Bleus of late, but there was to be no such relief for Gregor Townsend’s Scotland, in the first half at least.

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France were staggeringly good in the first half considering their selection, even if their second-half performance was night and day from the scalpel-sharp first forty.

1. Jean-Baptiste Gros – 6
The prop put in a solid shift in the scrums, holding his own against the Scottish front row. Displayed good workrate around the park but could have added more impact in open play.

2. Pierre Bourgarit – 7.5
The La Rochelle player showcased his dynamic ball-carrying and accuracy at the line-out. His defensive efforts were on point too, a crucial jackal relieving pressure at 48 minutes with the French line beckoning.

3. Demba Bamba – 7
Bamba had a strong outing, contributing to the set-pieces and showing glimpses of his potential as a powerful tighthead prop. Showed his real carrying option in the loose.

4. Cameron Woki – 7.5
Woki was a standout performer in the second row, making crucial tackles and securing line-out ball with precision. His all-action presence in the pack was crucial to France’s forward dominance but ran out of steam in the second 40.

5. Bastien Chalureau – 6
A towering presence at 6’8 and 124kg Chalureau provided physicality and defensive grit in the second row, the late-blooming 31-year-old proving a handful for the Scottish pack.

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6. Paul Boudehent – 6
A specimen in the French back row, Boudehent’s workrate in the back row was commendable, offering support in both attack and defence. However, he will be looking to add more dynamism to his game in future Test matches but fell away in the second half here.

7. Sekou Macalou – 7
Macalou was a menace at the breakdown, winning crucial turnovers and disrupting Scotland’s attacking flow. His workrate, athleticism and defensive tenacity stood out.

8. Yoan Tanga – 6
Winning his third cap, Tanga showcased his competent ball-carrying skills and was effective in his defensive duties. Not the biggest No.8 but packed plenty of punch.

9. Baptiste Couilloud – 7
The Lyon scrumhalf controlled the game well, providing quick service and making intelligent decisions. His accurate passing and tactical awareness were key to France’s high-tempo game plan, and he took his try well.

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10. Matthieu Jalibert – 8
Jalibert was the standout player for France, pulling the strings for the French with his playmaking skills and astute decision-making and high-tempo approach to things. A scuffed drop-goal aside, his precise goal-kicking and kicking from hand stood out.

11. Ethan Dumortier – 5
Dumortier had a steady if somewhat subdued performance on the left wing, showing good positioning and defensive awareness, but he didn’t hit the heights we saw in the Six Nations. He didn’t see much-attacking ball to be fair.

12. Yoram Moefana – 6
Moefana provided stability in the midfield and contributed well in defence. Very nearly caught Duhan van der Merwe napping to pounce in the corner but for a replay showing he was in touch.

Emilien Gailleton – 8
First touches don’t come better. The debutant’s strong running lines and elusive footwork caused problems for the Scottish defence. His defensive efforts were commendable, making him a valuable asset in France’s backline.

14. Louis Bielle-Biarrey – 8
Very, very lucky to escape sanction for a swinging arm into Ben White, but other than that a really strong debut for the right wing. His exceptional pace and composed demeanour for the first French try suggest a bright future ahead for this promising young player, and he backed it up with a fantastic solo try on 25 minutes.

15. Brice Dulin – 6
Dulin was reasonably solid at fullback, offering a safe pair of hands under the high ball and regularly cannoned balls back into the Scotland 22. His blushes were saved after he was bumped off by Blair Kinghorn on his way to an apparent try, only for the effort to be disallowed.

REPLACEMENTS – 5
France’s bench struggled initially, putting on a lacklustre performance against a 14-man Scotland team. However, they almost secured victory in the end, showing determination and resilience. Peato Mauvaka, Reda Wardi, and Sipili Falatea had a slow start but came alive in the latter stages of the game. Paul Willemse and Dylan Cretin’s contributions nearly turned the tide in France’s favour. Despite playing below par initially, Baptiste Serin, Antoine Hastoy, and Arthur Vincent nearly guided their team to a hard-fought win against the reduced Scottish side.

By Ian Cameron, @RugbyPass

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