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Player Ratings: France

OPINION: In a match that laid bare the stark disparities between expectations and reality, France found themselves uncharacteristically lacklustre, a shadow of the formidable force they were in 2023. A man down for much of the contest, France eventually buckled completely.

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15. Thomas Ramos – 7.5
Mr Reliable with the boot and a much-needed comfort blanket at times of real need. Caught the first high ball to settle his side’s nerves and despite a narrow penalty miss early in the second half he remains the best France have in this position.

14. Damian Penaud – 6
It took 40 mins to get this mercurial player the ball in space and he responded with a 36th try in a career that shows no sign of peaking. Had been well shackled early by the Irish who had him chasing a few shadows in defence. He almost looked human at points

13. Gael Fickou – 5
Could the great man be on the slide? Not the force in defence or attack that we expect and seemed to be unable to pick up the pace of the game early. Got more influential as the contest opened up without reaching the level we expect from him.

12. Jonathan Danty – 4.5
More like Jonathan Dainty in the first half and dreadfully exposed for the second Irish try by Beirne which left him waving helplessly as he fell to the ground. This is the kind of performance that gets you dropped and he can expect plenty of stick from the home media.

11. Yoram Moefana – 4.5
The game largely passed him by on the left wing and he was caught out too often in defence. Seemed to pick up the pace of the game better in the second half without ever threatening to deliver anything out of the ordinary. Needs to go looking for work rather than being reactive.

10. Matthieu Jalibert – 6.5
When given front foot ball his quick hands and clever footwork was in evidence, particularly in ensuring the space was there for Penaud to exploit. Kept ball in hand early when it probably needed to be booted downfield to relieve the Irish pressure. Line kicking was too conservative.

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9. Maxime Lucu – 6
Who would want the job of replacing Antoine Dupont? A charge down and a lazy pass only helped the Irish cause and like Jalibert, only looked himself when given protection from the pressure Ireland put on him. His clearance kicking was solid but replaced in the second half to show the coaches weren’t convinced either.

1. Cyril Baille – 6.5
Solid work in the scrum and a busy performance in defence and boy was he needed in that first half. Has good hands for a big man and an engine that belies his position.

2. Peato Mauvaka – 5
Flew out of the defensive line and contributed hugely to the space that Beirne exploited for his try. Missed his jumper twice but given the lack of options you could understand his problems. Provided the forward drive that help set up the position for Penaud to exploit.

3. Uini Atonio –6.5
The big man did the business in the scrums giving Porter a torrid time and winning a couple of penalties. Effective in the defence where just standing there is enough to create the impression there is a blue wall erected on the pitch.

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4. Paul Gabrillagues –6
Had to become the line-out target and struggled to evade the Irish jumpers who got up to make his life difficult. Not a force in the loose and looked short of the class France need in the second row, particularly given the talent they have in the Top14 but got a try at a key moment.

5. Paul Willemse – 1
Got one point for running onto the pitch because after that it was a disaster for the lock forward. Lucky to get a yellow for his hit on Andrew Porter, he didn’t learn his lesson after 10 minutes of contemplation and another hit to the head of an opponent, he left the referee with no option but to end his contest. Dumb.

6. Francois Cros – 6
Quality forward who can be relied upon to defend with courage and was always eager to carry the ball into the Irish defence. However, he lacked real impact and was outshone by the Irish back row.

7. Charles Ollivon – 6
Not the dominant force we expect the former captain to be and not used as effectively at the line out despite his height and excellence in this skill. Like so many of the Les Bleus he came second best in too many collisions and needs to up his game.

8. Gregory Alldritt – 7.5
Let down by Willemse and managed to keep his head while others became muddled. Carried selflessly and worked well with the referee which is a skill that will serve his team well. Will learn important lessons about crisis management from this match.

REPLACEMENTS:

16. Julien Marchand – 5
Always ready to get involved in the hard work up front and hammered into rucks to good effect.

17. Reda Wardi – 4
Had to leave the contest after hardly being able to show his worth after picking up an injury.

18. Dorian Aldegheri – 4.5
Tried to continue the scrum domination but is not the force of nature that is Antonio. A solid competitor but not a game changer.

20. Posolo Tuilagi – 6.5
Made an immediate positive impact adding tackling power and a willingness to get stuck into the opposition. Plenty more to come from him.

19. Cameron Woki -4
One of the leading options to replace Willemse but appeared to lack the physicality that will be needed in the campaign after coming on.

21. Paul Boudehent -4.5
Brought a physicality that was needed if not the kind of guile that could close the gap in the final quarter.

22. Nolann Le Garrec – 5
Came off the bench to try and increase tempo and managed to steal a turnover as if he was a back row forward.

23. Louis Bielle-Biarrey- 4.5
Tried to make an immediate impact only to be given a pass behind his head to sum up the disjointed nature of the French attack.

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