Player ratings: Pure pleasure
OPINION: Les Bleus first away game was always going to be a major litmus test for Fabien Gathie’s young side.
After the punishing watch that was Italy Scotland, what a game Wales France ended up being.
Ian Cameron rates the French players!
15 ANTHONY BOUTHIER 8
Was alive to Leigh Halfpenny’s fumble, pouncing like a trapdoor spider in the 6th minute. As Jiffy said on commentary, he’s a natural footballer. What a find he continues to be.
Continue reading below…
14 TEDDY THOMAS 7
Pressured Halfpenny into his opening mistake. Weirdly didn’t tap the ball on with his foot moments later with the line beckoning. How French! Continually upset the Welsh back three. Unfortunately for France, he’s exciting on both sides of the ball.
13 VIRIMI VAKATAWA 8
Brilliant defence and kick-chase game on show today. Didn’t see much of the exciting stuff but what marked out his performance was his workrate. Shaun Edwards will surely have soiled himself watching the centre.
12 ARTHUR VINCENT 5
A quiet first half culminated in an offside call against him in the 43rd minute. Not much more on offer in the second.
11 GAEL FICKOU 8.5
Did well playing out of position on the wing. An early collision with George North meant he had to mark Jonny McNicol. Took his non-try, which should have been a try as Bouthier’s pass wasn’t forward, with immense swagger. His moments at No.8 had their own, peculiar magnificence.
10 ROMAIN NTAMACK 9
His kicking from hand and tee was impeccable. Took his 52nd minute intercept like he was out on an early morning jog on the Champs-Élysées. Le Petit Prince easily deserved his MOTM. Bravo!
9 ANTOINE DUPONT 7
This was game as much about guts, passion and unerring commitment. His tackle that stuffed a Welsh move in the 44th minute was massive. Not unlike the toxic pollution that emanated from his namesake chemical company in the US, he appears to be everywhere.
1 CYRIL BAILLE 4
Getting pinged for not rolling away wasn’t a great start. Dan Biggar punished it. Tackled Faletau without the ball in the 25th minute. Again, Biggar punished it. It was an appalling pattern.
2 JULIEN MARCHAND 6
The protection from the elements suited Marchand, who struggled with his lineout throwing in the first two rounds.
3 MOHAMED HAOUAS 6
Things got heated between him and Wyn Jones, and not in a romantic sense. The 127kg prop doesn’t quite have the footwork to defend like a smaller prop but his scrummaging is formidable; although Rob Evans went through him when he came on, resulting in a 68th minute penalty.
4 BERNARD LE ROUX 6
Combative – not unlike a Gallic Ultimate Warrior. As Eddie’s England look to play 3 locks, the French look to 4 backrows instead, and it’s clearly working.
5 PAUL WILLEMSE 8
Massive, brute power for his peel off try in the 30th minute. We like it when he plays angry. Jonny McNicol doesn’t.
6 FRANCOIS CROS 7
Tackled like a rabid but athletically gifted bear. Tore into Wales like they were Leonardo Di Caprio in The Revenant.
7 CHARLES OLLIVON (captain) 7
Stalked the backfield like a 6’7 Peeping Tom, waiting for a glimpse of a ball carry. He should be French skipper for years.
8 GREGORY ALLDRITT 7
A confident start for the star No.8 was tarnished when he was penalised for handling in the ruck. France got away with his sin-binning relatively unscathed. Did you know: His mother is French-Italian and there is also a bloodline in the family that links to Scandinavia.
16 CAMILLE CHAT 6
Made his test debut on 13 February, 2016, in a 10-9 Six Nations triumph over Ireland in Saint-Denis, and most his caps have come from the bench. We’re not sure why.
17 JEAN-BAPTISTE GROS 6
Put serious pressure on Dillion Lewis when he came on. He’s only 20. Just let that sink in.
18 DEMBA BAMBA 8
Came on and somehow dominated where his colleagues failed. Made BBC commentator Paul O’Connell eat his words.
19 ROMAIN TAOFIFENUA 7
Played a key cameo, even if it was just to add his 133kg to the scrum.
20 DYLAN CRETIN NA
21 BAPTISTE SERIN NA
22 MATHIEU JALIBERT NA
23 THOMAS RAMOS NA