Andrea Lo Cicero – 7
Came off second best in the scrum, but otherwise part of a fearsome Italian effort in the tight.
Leonardo Ghiraldini – 7
Doesn’t seem to be the penalty liability he used to be. Good effort all round, although part of a lineout that occasionally wobbled.
Martin Castrogiovanni – 8
Capped off yet another fine performance with his 12th international try, an astonishing number for a prop.
Quintin Geldenhuys – 7
Managed to nick a few French lineouts, but lost a couple as well.
Francesco Minto – 7
Hit rucks, made tackles – an old school lock performance.
Alessandro Zanni – 7
Big defensive effort – made some big hits and carried hard all day.
Simone Favaro – 8
Looks more than capable of filling old Bergamasco’s boots. Worked hard to slow French ball down and contributed plenty in both defence and attack.
Sergio Parisse – 8
Immense passion, superb carries and tireless in defence. One of the great leaders in the modern game, he just never quits. Sometimes guilty of taking on too much himself though – there were a few occasions when the pass was on but he took it up himself .
Tobias Botes – 8
Did enough to justify his selection over the much-lauded Gori. Snappy pass, good control and some sniping breaks, too.
Luciano Orquera – 10
Magnificent. A late developer (he got the first of his thirty caps nearly 10 years ago) he’s now blossomed into the fly half that Italy have been searching for. Played a pivotal role in both of Italy’s tries – a scything break to set up Parisse and and exquisite offload to put Castro through – with a faultless kicking game as well. Completely showed up his supposedly more illustrious counterpart.
Luke McLean – 8
Looked dangerous whenever he got the ball. Kicked well out of defence, too.
Alberto Sgarbi – 6
Forced the pass a few too many times, but solid otherwise.
Tommaso Benvenuti – 7
Didn’t get to see a lot of his much-vaunted attacking skills, but he led the Italian defensive line well.
Giovanbattista Venditti – 7
A decent enough game – wasn’t overshadowed by the French flyers.
Andrea Masi – 8
Has always looked like one of Italy’s best backs, but is now even better for his time in the Premiership with Wasps. Italy should try and bring him into the game more, would inside centre suit him better?
Burton came on and took a sweet drop goal to give Italy a bit of breathing space. De Marchi replaced Ghiraldini and got a yellow card, not his finest moment.
Yannick Forestier – 6
Kudos for getting the upper hand in the scrum, but he didn’t really do much else.
Dmitri Szarzewski – 5
His set piece work was fine, but where was he in the loose? Looked as though he didn’t want to be there.
Nicolas Mas – 6
Like the rest of the front row he put in a decent shift at the scrum. Lethargic elsewhere.
Pascal Papé – 4
Left the field with half an hour to go. Failed to provide leadership when France needed it most.
Yoann Maestri – 4
Hardly noticed he was on the field.
Fulgence Ouedraogo – 7
One of France’s better performers. Runs some great support lines, with the pace to back it up. Good in the lineout.
Thierry Dusautoir – 5
Has only recently returned from injury and it showed. Looked way off the pace. Captain for much of the second half when France capitulated.
Louis Picamoles – 7
A couple of barnstorming runs in the first half, including a great finish for his try. Faded as the match went on though.
Maxime Machenaud – 5
He passed the ball, which is… well, the least he should be doing. Decision to start him ahead of Parra looks ridiculous.
Freddie Michalak – 5
Utterly failed to bring any sort of control to France’s play.
Benjamin Fall – 6
Took his try well, but it was an easy finish.
Maxime Mermoz – 5
Another French player who failed to show up.
Florian Fritz – 7
Great link work for Fall’s try, and did some decent work in defence.
Wesley Fofana – 5
The best inside centre in the Northern Hemisphere, and they shove him out on the wing. Completely wasted.
Yoann Huget – 6
Wonderful offload to set up Fall, anonymous the rest of the time.
No one came on and had the required impact. Didn’t up the tempo or add the urgency that was so blatantly lacking from this display.
by Gideon Heugh @GideonJH