Player Ratings: What hoodoo?
OPINION: France’s hopes of claiming a first Six Nations title in 12 years and a fourth Grand Slam since 2000 are very much alive following their 36-17 round three win at Murrayfield.
Fabien Galthie’s team ended their three-match Six Nations losing streak in Edinburgh in emphatic fashion by claiming six tries and a bonus point which may yet prove to be crucial.
Paul Smith rates the French Players
15. Melvyn Jaminet – 6
Set the tone for an up-and-down game when he missed an absolute sitter from in front of the posts in the opening minutes before slotting a nerve-settling conversion from wide on the left then expertly landing a 50-22. Missed a high ball completely to give Scotland a good attacking opportunity then compounded the error by conceding a penalty for a high tackle.
14. Damian Penaud – 9
Played his part in creating tries for Moefana and Danty. Posed the home side plenty of defensive questions throughout and earned his reward by strolling over for France’s fifth and sixth tries.
13. Gael Fickou – 8
Showed his defensive quality by getting over the ball to end a promising home attack and win a vital penalty on the ground. Scored a superb try on the stroke of half-time with a powerful, arcing burst and controlled finish under pressure before ripping the ball free in a maul to create Penaud’s score.
12. Jonathan Danty – 8
The fit-again Danty, who scored France’s fourth try when the beneficiary of a fortuitous bounce, brought plenty of power to the visitors’ midfield in both attack and defence.
11. Yoram Moefana – 7
Twice made early ground down the left wing in the process highlighting a size mis-match by flattening Darcy Graham. Finished his team’s second try following some sublime handling.
10. Romain Ntmack – 9
Got off to the worst possible start when his kick off found the Murrayfield stands but quickly recovered his composure to play a prominent part in his team’s attacking threat. Ran the show in the second half when he enjoyed plenty of possession in broken field.
9. Antoine Dupont – 8.5
Created one of the great Six Nations tries by countering from his own 22 to launch the move which Willemse finished. Awarded the official Man-of-the-Match award for his sustained excellence.
1. Cyril Baille – 7
Produced the brilliant offload that sent Moefana over for France’s second score from a seemingly impossible situation. Maybe now the world’s leading loose head?
2. Julien Marchand – 7
Won his team a kickable penalty in the early stages with a well-judged jackal and grabbed another important turnover shortly before departing the field. Always prominent in the loose.
3. Uini Atonio – 6.5
Given a huge scrum battle by the impressive Pierre Schoeman before limping from the field early in the second period.
4. Cameron Woki – 8.5
Scotland entered the contest with a 100 per cent return from their 28 lineout throws against England and Wales but Woki posed plenty of aerial problems for Townsend’s team. Always prominent in the loose in a terrific display.
5. Paul Willemse – 7
Applied the finishing touch that claimed France’s first try to cap a typically powerful display.
6. Francois Cros – 6.5
Got straight into the game by blocking Finn Russell’s 50-22 attempt and went on to make a big defensive contribution.
7. Anthony Jelonch – 6
Steady if unspectacular display as part of another effective French forward performance.
8. Gregory Alldritt – 7.5
Le Bleu’s go-to carrier rarely disappoints and Alldritt again did plenty of hard yards in addition to working hard in defence.
16. Peato Mauvaka – 6.5
Quickly made his mark in the loose with some tough tackling and good support lines.
17. Jean-Baptiste Gros – 6.5
Like South Africa France now have two outstanding front rows and Gros is every bit as effective as Baille.
18. Demba Bamba – 6.5
Arrived in the 47th minute to provide plenty of ballast.
19. Romain Taofifenua – 6.5
A second-half replacement for Willemse that made a lively contribution in the loose.
20. Thibault Flament – 7
Showcased his handling skills and open-field running in the closing stages as Scotland tired.
21. Dylan Cretin – 6
Replaced the excellent Woki in the closing stages.
22. Maxime Lucu – 6
Earned a cap in the closing minutes when Dupont took a well-earned rest.
23. Thomas Ramos – 6.5
Replaced Jaminet in the closing stages and relished the chance to run at tiring defenders.
By Paul Smith, Rugbypass