Player ratings: Shattered dreams
OPINION: France’s Six Nations Grand Slam bid ground to a halt on Sunday, as they fell to a 28-17 loss to a fired-up Scottish side at Murrayfield.
Indiscipline cost France, who saw two members of their pack sent to the sin bin, one with a yellow card and the other with a red, and Scotland were more than capable of putting Les Bleus to the sword after that.
Alex Shaw rates the French players!
- Anthony Bouthier – 7
The full-back kept up his impressive debut Six Nations campaign with a solid defensive performance. His positioning in the kicking game and cover work in defence were all noteworthy, whilst he also came close to sparking attacking opportunities for Les Bleus on multiple occasions.
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- Damian Penaud – 6
The wing took his early try well and was consistently looking for work off of his wing, even when France were reduced to 14 men. His industry helped France not look short in personnel on a number of attacks.
- Virimi Vakatawa – 7
Vakatawa flashed some early promise with his carrying, ability to keep phases alive and his one-on-one tackling in space, but he was restricted in his chances to build on it as the French pack leaked numbers and penalties, losing the battle with their Scottish counterparts in the process. Nevertheless, he found ways to manufacture attacking opportunities.
- Arthur Vincent – 6
The talented centre stepped up as a ball-carrier and pressure valve outside of Mathieu Jalibert, though he was not put in the best position to succeed by the indiscipline of some of his teammates.
- Gaël Fickou – 6
After losing out on a high ball early in the game, Fickou settled his nerves with some incisive carries. As with a number of the backs, his contributions were limited due to the struggles experienced by the French pack.
- Romain Ntamack – 5
The young fly-half’s game was cut short by an early head injury. He missed an early kick at goal and fumbled the high ball in the build-up to tackle in which he sustained the injury, making it a forgettable outing for the prodigy.
- Antoine Dupont – 6
A relatively slow start, which included a kick out on the full, was ended in spectacular fashion as Dupont connected with a wonderfully weighted kick assist for Penaud’s opening try. Unfortunately, he was having to play on the back-foot for much of the second half, though a couple of unusual fumbles did not help his case.
- Jefferson Poirot – 7
The loosehead was solid at the set-piece and put plenty of effort in the loose. He did his best to maintain parity after the French pack was reduced to 14 men. Poirot’s head and work rate did not drop, despite the game drifting away from Les Bleus.
- Julien Marchand – 8
An efficient and effective performance from the hooker, who successfully completed all eight of his lineout throws. He also carried productively, cleaned up loose balls and was able to force turnovers out of Scotland at the breakdown.
- Mohamed Haouas – 3
After a couple of solid scrums, Haouas began to come under pressure from Rory Sutherland. He later put his team in a hole with a punch to the head of Jamie Ritchie, an action which saw him pick up a red card just before the half.
- Bernard Le Roux – 6
One of the form players of the championship, Le Roux didn’t have a bad game at Murrayfield, though it fell below the high standards he has set so far in the tournament. His physicality and work rate still showed up, however, even if they weren’t as influential as they have been in other games over the past month or so.
- Paul Willemse – 4
The lock blotted his copybook with a couple of handling errors and his role in the yellow card that François Cros received. He will not look back favourably on his attempted swatted arm tackle on Chris Harris, either.
- François Cros – 5
Cros picked up an early yellow card that didn’t help his side, whilst he wasn’t able to exert the same kind of physicality or accuracy in defence and at the breakdown on Scotland that he has in previous matches.
- Charles Ollivon – 6
It was not the polished and all-action performance from Ollivon that we have become used to during this tournament, though he did provide positive impact as a lineout option and in the defensive line.
- Grégory Alldritt – 8
One of the French forwards to leave the game with more credit than he started it with. He carried well as was expected, but also made his presence known at the contact area and with his ability to link play and keep phases alive. Ticked boxes on the kick return and in the defensive line, too.
- Peato Mauvaka – 6
Mauvaka kept up the set-piece efficiency that Marchand had laid the foundation for and was busy in the loose, if not quite as productive as the man he replaced on the pitch.
- Jean-Baptiste Gros – 6
Coughed up an unnecessary neck roll penalty shortly after arriving from the bench. The loosehead did do a reasonable job helping negate France’s numerical disadvantage in the scrum, though.
- Demba Bamba – 7
Bamba injected some much-needed energy and positivity in the loose, albeit with some understandable struggles in a seven-man scrum.
- Romain Taofifenua – 7
The lock added a power and dynamism that Willemse had been unable to provide, not to mention a safer pair of hands.
- Dylan Cretin – 6
The flanker was an upgrade for Cros on the day, although his tangible effect on the side was limited to some solid tackles and clear outs at the breakdown.
- Baptiste Serin – n/a
Came on too late to have a real impact on the game.
- Matthieu Jalibert – 5
An enigmatic performance from the replacement fly-half. He provided attacking spark at times and looked one of the more likely French players to make something happen, though that was mitigated by multiple defensive errors and some struggles with his positioning on the pitch.
- Thomas Ramos – 6
Added some late spark after coming on. It was not enough to turn thing around for France but he’s done his chances of featuring in the future no harm.