15. Maxime Médard – 7
Failed to get on the scoresheet, but another solid performance at the back from the Toulouse star. The anchor.
14. Vincent Clerc – 8
France’s new record try scorer with 34, Clerc took his chance well gathering the bouncing ball for what proved to be the decisive try. Cannot be allowed an inch of space.
13. Aurélien Rougerie – 7
The first try scorer, Rougerie led the backline well and supported his young club colleague to good effect on his debut.
12. Wesley Fofana – 8
Good in the first half, even better in the second. Fofana gradually eased his way into international rugby, making the interception that led to Clerc’s try and then finishing off a move on his own to score a try on debut. Has a big future ahead of him.
11. Julien Malzieu – 8
The Clermont winger may have missed France’s last 17 matches, but it looked like he had never been away. His try came from a superb hand off and break down the left touchline, before stepping inside the full back.
10. François Trinh-Duc – 7
Appears to have edged ahead of Lionel Beauxis in the pecking order. His communication with Fofana got better as the match went on, as did his passing game.
9. Dimitri Yachvili – 7
Initially seemed a bit off the pace, mainly due to the fact that Italy’s back row were causing problems at the breakdown. Improved as the game went on, landing some tricky kicks at goal.
1. Vincent Debaty – 6
Hardly the easiest of return fixtures to international rugby having to face Martin Castrogiovanni, but Debaty emerged on top. Under pressure from Jean-Baptiste Poux.
2. William Servat – 6
Szarzewski made a bigger impression when he came on off the bench. Italy’s lineout did not make life easy for the Toulouse hooker, so this was not his best game.
3. Nicolas Mas – 7
Won his personal battle with Andrea Lo Cicero. Continues to produce big performances despite his advancing years.
4. Pascal Papé – 7
In some ways a surprise pick ahead of the impressive Yoan Maestri, Papé carried well and by the end had cancelled out the Italian threat at the lineout.
5. Lionel Nallet – 6
Came off early, but still has a lot to offer in terms of experience and in the lineout.
6. Thierry Dusautoir – 8
Can anyone remember his playing a bad game in the last four years? Big tackles, direct running. Class.
7. Julien Bonnaire – 7
Underrated but essential, Bonnaire’s selection over Harinordoquy was the right call.
8. Louis Picamoles – 8
A fine example of domestic form being transferred to the test arena. Dynamic break off the back of the scrum led to Malzieu’s try. A phenomenal carrier.
Szarzewski put Servat under pressure for his selection, whilst Maestri had a good debut. When you can bring Harinordoquy and Morgan Parra off the bench, you are blessed.