15. Brice Dulin: 7.5
A typically lively display from the Castres full-back. He was always willing to counter-attack, set up Huget’s second try and was solid under the high ball. No wonder Racing Metro fans can’t wait for the summer, when he’s heading their way.
14. Yoann Huget: 9
Benefited from lucky bounces for both his first-half tries, but that should not detract from an outstanding overall performance. Richly deserved his man of the match award for a near-perfect 80 minutes.
13. Mathieu Bastareaud: 6
Looked lumpen compared to the rest of the French backline – but then, he pretty much always does. Still the go-to guy when the going gets tough and Les Bleus need someone to set a platform. Gael Fickou stole the headlines from everyone but Huget when he replaced ‘Fat’ with five minutes to go.
12. Wesley Fofana: 6
Wesley Whofana? Subdued in midfield. Maybe it’s a testament to how well England defended that the French midfield threat from Fofana and Bastareaud was largely nullified.
11. Maxime Medard: 7
His neat decoy run let in replacement Gael Fickou for that decisive late try, solid enough in defence, and gave England new boy Nowell a few scary moments – but it was a quiet match on the whole for Huget’s compadre.
10. Jules Plisson: 8
The young fly-half had an impressive debut, and ran the French game nicely. His kick through set up Huget’s opening try after half a minute – though it took a lucky bounce off an England boot. Not a perfect performance by any means, but more than good enough to give him another go in the French number 10 shirt. A better long-term bet than Remi Tales, and his performance will have given Camille Lopez pause for thought.
9. Jean-Marc Doussain: 6.5
Could do better. Not awful, but he needs to bring his Toulouse game to the national side if he’s to move to the head of a long line of players wanting to slip on the France number 9 shirt. His kicking was inconsistent, and with Parra, Pelissié, Marchenaud and – dare we say it – Kockott waiting in the wings, Philippe Saint-André has plenty of kicking scrum-half options. Marchenaud, for one, added extra urgency when he came on as a replacement.
1. Thomas Domingo: 6
Looked for all the world as though he had the beating of Cole in the first few scrums, but could not make that early dominance count – though quite why he was taken off after the break remains something of a mystery. Mind you, Yannick Forestier did nothing wrong.
2. Benjamin Kayser: 5
Clermont’s hooker was typically combative in the scrum – and typically inconsistent throwing in. Replacement Dimitri Szarzewski looked much more solid at the lineout… and much more dangerous in the loose.
3. Nicolas Mas: 6
Surely a better impact player these days than a starting tighthead? Like Domingo on the other side of the scrum, he could not maintain the storming opening that had the England pack on the rack. Was that a look of relief on his face when he was replaced by Rabah Slimani? The Stade prop did his fair share of work, with several England players knowing about his tackling ability.
4. Alexandre Flanquart: 5.5
His big tackle stopped Goode scoring a try, but he was generally outplayed by Lawes and Launchbury. Saint-André has plenty to think about here, as Yoann Maestri, who replaced Flanquart just after halftime, was much more dynamic in the loose and better at the lineout.
5. Pascal Papé: 7
France’s temporary captain did not take a step backwards all match. Disappointing lineout performance by his own high standards, but did more than enough to hang on to the captain’s armband for this Six Nations.
6. Yannick Nyanga: 8.5
No doubt about it – France’s best, most threatening forward. One storming break from a counter-attack after an England turnover was just one highlight of a hugely physical display in which he was a danger with the ball… and without it. It took a Huget-level performance to deny him the man of the match award.
7. Bernard Le Roux: 5
The man charged with standing in for Thierry Dusautoir did the basics well enough, but France missed their captain nonpareil. Antoine Burban added an extra yard of pace and an extra ounce of intelligence when he came on after halftime.
8. Louis Picamoles: 7.5
Billy Vunipola has clearly learned a few of the lessons that Picamoles doled out when the two met in Heineken Cup competition in the autumn. The Toulouse number 8 was not as dominant this time, but still put in one of those powerhouse displays for which he is noted. Chouly was almost as impressive when he came on just before the hour.
By James Harrington (@blackmountained)