France v Wales 6 Nations 2013: France player ratings


15. Yoann Huget – 7
Big improvement from last week. Looked a constant threat with ball in hand, with great acceleration and nifty footwork. Safe under the high ball, with a neat charge down on Biggar as well. Would have been an 8, but he butchered a two on one when he could have set up a try.

14. Wesley Fofana – 5
Had virtually nothing to do in the first half. Slightly busier in the second, but France’s limited game-plan keeps stifling his natural talent. Please move him to inside centre!

13. – Mathieu Bastareaud – 8
France’s most effective player, both in defence and attack, more than justifying his selection. Put in some bone-crunchingly big hits and looked like a bowling ball going forward – knocking Welshmen over left right and centre. Looks fitter than he used to be, too. France need to get the ball into his hands more often, and a potential partnership with Fofana could be an exciting prospect.

12. Maxime Mermoz – 5
Another ineffective game. I had absolutely nothing written in my notebook next to his name, simply becuase he didn’t seem to do anything. Normally excellent for his club, Mermoz is yet another Frenchman shackled by Saint-Andre’s overly pragmatic approach in this championship.

11. Benjamin Fall – 7
Made two sublime catches whilst running at full tilt, and was one of France’s livelier players in the first half. A nuisance in defence as well, but forced off with an injury at half time.

10. Freddie Michalak – 4
Poor kicking out of hand. Poor decision making. Poor passing, with several balls flying into no-man’s land. Stood far too deep, completely unable to get his talented backline moving. An absolute shocker – needs to make way for Trinc-Duc.

9. Maxime Machenaud – 6
Mr Average. He has a decent enough passing and kicking game, and made a couple of little darts around the base, but France demand more from their scrum-halves. Didn’t boss the game in any way, shape, or form. He may well have a good future, but Parra is the man for the here and now.

8. Louis Picamoles – 6
A couple of his trademark barnstorming runs, but otherwise fairly quiet. He tends, like a lot of the French side, to fade in and out of matches. He has the potential to be a world class number eight, but will need more consistency to gain that accolade. Is fitness an issue?

7. Thierry Dusautoir – 6
Doesn’t look his usual sharp self, and clearly isn’t match fit. Put in a decent shift in defence, but needed to show more. As he was Captain, you have to question his (normally excellent) leadership over a team that looked totally rudderless for most of the match.

6. Fulgence Ouedraogo – 7
Had a good game until he was taken off injured. Did a fine job of spoiling Welsh ball at the breakdown. He’s an excellent line-out jumper, and made some strong carries as well.

5. Yoann Maestri – 7
Looked the best of an admittedly poor French pack. At the heart of a couple of powerful mauls, and worked hard both in the loose and the tight. Far from perfect though – he gave away several daft penalties.

4. Jocelino Suta – 5
Completely off the pace at international level. Anonymous all round, replaced by the much more intimidating Taofifenua after 65 mintues.

3. Nicolas Mas – 5
Not the force he used to be. Was once considered the best in the world in his position, but he was mostly ineffective here.

2. Dimitri Szarzewski – 5
Seemed as though he didn’t want to be there. Another French player who failed to live up to his reputation, with none of his usual high-energy work in the loose. Lineout throwing was inconsistent.

1. Yannick Forestier – 6
Got the upper hand on opposite number Adam Jones early in the match, but then faded badly. Taken off after 50 minutes having failed to capitalise on early dominance.

Debaty, Kayser and Ducalon all came on around the 50 minute mark and made an impact in the scrum. The enormous Taofifenua replaced Suta at 65 minutes, but failed to make any sort of difference – likewise Parra. Trinc-Duc was brought on for the injured Fall and had to play out of position at Full-Back.

by Gideon Heugh (@GideonJH)

17 thoughts on “France v Wales 6 Nations 2013: France player ratings

  1. Im sorry, but this combined with the Wales player ratings is just ridiculous. How can a game of such dire quality produce such high ratings?! Most of these need to be marked down to a four

    1. I was thinking the same thing. Both sides made some of the most basic mistakes so many times in the game. It was awful and frustrating to watch, and I’m not Welsh or French. It was not a good advertisement for any kind of rugby.

  2. Good scores, similar to the other dire match of the weekend. The first weekend festival of rugby was harshly stopped this weekend, but it was still compelling.

  3. The passionate debate as to which side was involved in the least worse match continues! As spectacles I think they were comparable, however one was played in cold clear, i.e. pretty good, conditions (on a poor pitch) the other in foul conditions (on a poor pitch).

    Michalak should get a 2 or a 3 for his effort. France did do a decent job of defending and spoiling but I couldn’t believe how passive they were at the breakdown on their own ball, no attempt to get quick ball at all. I don’t think any of the French forwards should get more than a 6.

  4. I think France were far more guilty of trying not to lose the game, and ended up losing the game because of it. What a shame!

  5. Be good to start adding coach ratings to these roundups? Saint Andre plays the best centre on the wing, the best scrum half on the bench, etc. He’d score about a 2?

    1. – PSA 2
      – Howley 5
      – Brunel 5 (I thought his pre-match interview was really honest, being worried whether Italy could match the emotional intensity of the previous week, which proved correct. Not sure what else he could have done)
      – Kidney 6
      – Lancaster 8
      – Johnson 9 (for fixing the things that went wrong in the first fixture in just 6 days)

        1. Thought a couple of players that he kept faith with did better than their alternatives, e.g. Jenkins over James, so scraped a 5.

          I think he’s a good coach, just not a head coach. Don’t think he’s comfortable with the responsibility and the pressure is impacting his decision making. A decent assistant to Gatland, but not a head coach.

  6. I actually feel these poor games are a direct result from Teams trying not to lose RATHER than actually trying to win and playing some rugby. All British Teams play in poor conditions so no excuses there, unfortunately another poor 6 nations – although nail biting, lacking entertainment and skill levels throughout. Only 2 Teams playing consistently – France poorly and England averagely – the rest up and down performances.

      1. Bit of a weird and premature comment.

        Whether or not all British teams play in poor conditions doesn’t really make a difference

        Just cos you’ve played in it before, I’m sure it doesn’t make it any easier to catch a ball in the midst of a rainstorm with all the pressure that a 6 nations match brings.

        Also, no-one flings the ball around when its pissing it down. If you did, you’d be asking to lose

        1. If Teams are used to playing in certain conditions then yes it makes a huge difference – and as the first two rounds go – yes i think it has been a average six nations at best – very negative play. Jamie i can only comment on games that have been played to date – i hope as much as anyone the tournament improves

          1. Surely you didn’t think that after the first round though? The pretty much universal view was that it was the best opening weekend ever seen. Two poor games (because of a poor pitch and horrible conditions) are not enough to jump to such conclusions, in my opinion.

          2. It makes a difference because teams know how to play the conditions, that doesn’t mean they can play the same way in any condition. My average mark for the games over the first 2 weekends is 7.3, 4 very good games dragged down by 2 others. Don’t think it is a bad champs thus far, especially with Italy and Scotland making a more positive contribution.

          3. Jamie, the Scotland v Italy game was entertaining as were England and Scotland and Wales and Ireland the week before but as far as quality rugby being played then probably not, maybe i am too much of a ideologist but not sure the skill levels are there ( odd moment of brilliance from all Teams, agreed )

          4. Yes it makes a difference, the difference is that if they are used to playing in rubbish conditions then they are used to playing forward-based, territorial rugby suited to those conditions.

            Of course teams can play a match in those conditions and yet still try to play running rugby full of brave off-loads and inventive passing. And they will lose to the team that keeps it tight, kicks for territory and tailors their rugby to the weather.

            An attritional, hard-fought, forward-based game of rugby can be every bit as entertaining as a try-fest, just in a different way.

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