Player Ratings: France
OPINION: After Fabien Galthie’s side failed to deliver in Marseille, the scene was set for a French bounce back in Murrayfield against the Scots, who in contrast came off a skin-of-their-teeth win against Wales seven days previously.
But the French bounce back never really came and what ensued was a dreary effort in the Scottish capital. Luckily for Galthie and co, Scotland inexplicably rolled over to be tickled with 20 minutes left on the clock.
1. Cyril Baille – 6
With the exception of a crucial penalty just before half-time, Baille failed to make a dent against a surprisingly robust Scottish scrum, with the Scots edging the scrum battle over the 80. His usual impact in the loose was also somewhat muted.
2. Peato Mauvaka – 5
Deserves flack for his part in France’s utterly shambolic line-out, which combined with a failing scrum left the French with basically no platform to attack. Wasn’t the force in the loose that you’d expect either.
3. Uini Atonio – 4
Showed high game IQ to strip Ben White at the back of a maul with three minutes on the clock but it was all downhill from there for the La Rochelle man. Kept collapsing at the scrum and once again was sent to the sinbin was a clumsy challenge. You can’t help but feel that the 145kg prop is a yellow or red card waiting to happen every time he takes to the pitch.
4. Cameron Woki – 4
Although active around the field, Woki’s performance was marred by uncharacteristic errors in the line-out and a lack of discipline, resulting in turnovers that cost France valuable possession.
5. Paul Gabrillagues – 4
At sixs and sevens at line-out time. Struggled to make his presence felt with minimal impact in attacking play and a decent tackle count aside, he needs to show more.
6. Francois Cros – 6
Cros offered a dollop of nuisance factor at the breakdown and his defensive workrate was high, often stopping Scottish attacks dead in their tracks. Tackled himself to a standstill.
7. Charles Ollivon – 6
Part of a French back row that kept the French pack in the fight, despite the lacklustre efforts of the tight five.
8. Gregory Alldritt – 6
As with Ollivon, Alldritt’s performance was critical in the trenches. His ball-carrying broke the first line of defence on occasions and he kept doggedly to the task before going off with a nasty-looking leg injury.
9. Maxime Lucu – 6.5
Under huge pressure from the French press after failing the fill the figuratively big boots of the absent Antoine Dupont. Lucu provided a clean service and kept the tempo reasonably high, although he was often pressured by Scotland’s defensive rushes. His kicking game was mostly on point, helping France manage field position.
10. Matthieu Jalibert – 4
His tactical kicking often misfired and he gifted Scotland far too many easy turnovers. On the plus side, the Bordeaux man’s passing game couldn’t be faulted, even if Les Bleus‘ attack felt a little directionless at times. Looks like a player whose confidence is shot.
11. Louis Bielle-Biarrey – 6
Defended poorly for Scotland’s first try, biting in to leave the French cover chasing shadows. Elsewhere found himself isolated and unable to break free from Scotland’s tight defensive net, limiting his opportunities to showcase the pace and finishing abilities he’s known for. His rather, lithe 79kg frame led to him being repeatedly rag-dolled in contact. Brought a bit of magic in the 69th minute against the run of play.
12. Jonathan Danty – 5
Danty’s usually formidable physical presence was neutralized by Scotland’s midfield, who matched him in intensity and denied him the chance to make significant ground.
13. Gael Fickou – 7
Better from Fickou. His experience and defensive acumen were vital in marshalling the French defence, while his 14th-minute surge should have resulted in a try, even though he probably should have given it to Bielle-Biarrey on his outside. His 31st-minute corner flagging effort brought France back into it.
14. Damian Penaud – 5
Kept quiet in the first half and didn’t see much more of the ball in the second half, barring a few unforced errors and maybe one half-decent dink through.
15. Thomas Ramos – 6
One of the brighter French lights at Murrayfield – which wasn’t saying much – and by gods it was a busy afternoon for the Frenchmen. His counter-attacking runs added an extra dimension to France’s otherwise lukewarm attack, while his kicking from both the tee and out of hand was mostly on the money.
16. Julien Marchand – 6
Marchand’s entry brought increased stability and aggression to the French forward pack, making his presence felt in the scrums and mauls.
17. Sebastien Taofifenua – 5.5
Slightly improved the scrum’s performance upon entering, though his contributions in open play were limited.
18. Dorian Aldegheri – 5.5
Helped stabilize the French scrum with his introduction, offering marginal improvements in the tight phases.
19. Posolo Tuilagi – 6.5
Is he living up to the massive hype that perhaps has been unfairly placed on his shoulders? Added some physicality – some noticeable carries and counter rucks standing out – but at times seems to be more spectator than active participant.
20. Alexandre Roumat – 6
Brought noticeable energy and made some impactful contributions in the loose, offering a slight lift to the team’s performance.
21. Paul Boudehent – 6
Roumat’s energy off the bench was evident, making a handful of impactful runs and being involved in the breakdown.
22. Nolann Le Garrec – 5
Introduced an increased tempo and showed glimpses of creativity in his attempt to reinvigorate the French attack, although his passing was sloppy on occasion.
23. Yoram Moefana – 6
Brought some additional energy to the backline, looking to test the Scottish defence with his runs, albeit without decisive breakthroughs.
By Ian Cameron, @RugbyPass