France v Italy: France player ratings


15. Brice Dulin: 7
Nearly scored what would have been a deserved try in the first half, and a typically mazy run from inside his own 22 ended with the penalty that finally stirred the French from their first-half slumber.

14. Yoann Huget: 7.5
No try this week, but put in another impressive shift for Les Bleus. Drew the tackler and flighted a clever inside pass that let in Hugo Bonneval to score on his debut.

13. Mathieu Bastareaud: 6.5

Dear Mr Saint-Andre, Please stop picking blunt instrument Bastareaud, who looks like he’s playing at half speed compared to everyone else in this furiously fast backline. Fofana and Fickou would be so much more dangerous. An improvement on last week, but that’s not saying much.

12. Wesley Fofana: 8.5
One try and one major assist during the 10-minute three-try blitz that gave the scoreline a rather flattering look after a scratchy first half ended 9-3. Much more visible and dangerous than last week, which is probably why he was named man of the match.

11. Hugo Bonneval: 7.5
With rather neat symmetry, the Stade Francais man scored on his international debut, just as his father Eric had done years earlier. And wasn’t afraid to go looking for work, either. All in all, a promising debut.

10. Jules Plisson: 6
Didn’t do much wrong. But then didn’t do much that grabbed the eye, either. Should probably have done better. Best you can say is that it was probably just one of those days.

9. Jean-Marc Doussain: 7
Missed a couple of straightforward penalties early on, but then remembered where he’d hidden his kicking boots. Still has work to do, though, if he’s to hold off the challenge of Parra for the starting slot..

8. Louis Picamoles: 7.5
Another typically strong performance from the Toulouse man. He bullied his way through two tacklers to score the try that kickstarted France’s 10-minute three-touchdown blitz.

7. Bernard Le Roux: 7
Worked hard all game, until taking a taking an accidental knee to the head with four minutes to go. He wasn’t out cold, but taking him off was a sensible decision. 7

6. Yannick Nyanga: 7.5
Duracell Nyanga will have been livid to have been replaced with five minutes to go so that Mas could come back on for propping duties after Slimani was sent off. Had to come back on straight away after Le Roux’s injury.

5. Yoann Maestri: 6
Did enough when coming on as a replacement last week to justify winning a place in the starting line up. Just about did enough to keep hold of the number 5 shirt for the trip to Wales on February 21.

4. Pascal Papé: 6
A typically combative captain’s performance from Papé, though the Stade monster’s lineout work isn’t as dominant as you’d expect from a 21st-century lock.

3. Nicolas Mas: 5
Before the match, the Montpellier prop had said that France should beware the Italian pack. He was right to be concerned. For the first 40 the Azurri pushed the French around at will. It was like the England game in reverse. Mas will have been relieved to be replaced just after halftime. He would not have been pleased to have to come back on when Slimani was red carded.

2. Dimitri Szarzewski: 7
After Kayser’s lacklustre performance last week, it was no surprise to see the Racing Metro man get the number two shirt this week. He did his job with a flick of perfectly conditioned hair.

1. Thomas Domingo: 5.5
Like Mas, Domingo suffered as the Italian pack put the squeeze on early. It took them some time to get to grips with the opposition and the dismal Stade de France surface.

Replacements: 4.5

Kayser’s introduction coincided with France taking their foot off the pedal – he is the perfect hooker for closing out a game. Did what he had to do – nothing more, nothing less. Forestier put in a typically gritty performance.

Rabah Slimani and Sebastien Vahaamahina were the villains of the piece, receiving red and yellow cards respectively and all but ending any momentum France had. Damien Chouly’s introduction was another defensive move from Saint-Andre – he tackled and harried and hit the rucks, but Les Bleus lost an edge when Picamoles came off.

Maxime Machenaud didn’t look as sharp as last week when he came on – but that’s probably because Doussain did much better against less difficult opposition. François Trinh-Duc’s entering the fray was the most defensive move of the lot – he’s a canny player, and kicks well, but doesn’t have Plisson’s eye for the main chance.

Fickou came on late, despite Bastareaud’s ineffectiveness, and didn’t get the chance to influence affairs as he did last week.

One thought on “France v Italy: France player ratings

  1. Think its quite harsh on bastareud, if they are going to pick him, they should use him! If they give him the ball early so he can accelerate into the gap or the man he is a very effective tool as Toulon have shown, but given it man and ball he is just going to make you a few metres slowly. which is pointless

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