15. Maxime Médard – 8
Composed under the high ball, often found himself wriggling out of tight attacking spaces. Still only 24, developing into one of the world’s great full backs.
14. Vincent Clerc – 7
The tournament’s joint top try scorer was unable to clinch a winning score this time round, but was threatening as always.
13. Aurélien Rougerie – 9
Phenomenal in midfield. One huge hit on Conrad Smith and the key break that led to Dusautoir’s try summed up his commitment. Class.
12. Maxime Mermoz – 6
More to come from the Perpignan man at this level, but he grew into the match, carrying effectively in the second half.
11. Alexis Palisson – 7
His best game in a France shirt. Doubts have lingered over his ability at Test level, but he looked sharp and threatening throughout.
10. Morgan Parra – 5
Forced to leave the pitch after suffering a suspicious concussion from a Richie McCaw knee in the first half. Probably his last match at 10.
9. Dimitri Yachvili – 8
Grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half. Clever passes and brilliant probing kicks kept the heat on New Zealand as Yachvili played matador.
1. Jean-Baptiste Poux – 7
Harshly penalised by Craig Joubert, otherwise endured a good afternoon. Has made the shirt his own.
2. William Servat – 8
Class. Threw brilliantly, held his own in the scrum against Mealamu, and worked hard in defence.
3. Nicolas Mas – 7
Gave Woodcock a tough time up front, putting another excellent scrummaging performance.
4. Pascal Pape – 6
Unspectacular, didn’t take his first lineout until the second half. Did the unseen work well.
5. Lionet Nallet – 8
Another excellent performance from the former captain. Ruled the lineout, hit hard in defence and put pressure on Sam Whitelock and Brad Thorn at the front.
6. Thierry Dusautoir – 10
Did everything but win the match. The new IRB Player of the Year made over 20 tackles and scored France’s only try. His performance was so much more than those numbers though. He was possessed, committed and quite simply, brilliant. The greatest losing performance in a World Cup Final.
7. Julian Bonnaire – 7
More brilliant defensive work from the industrious Clermont man. Has excelled all tournament in the number 7 shirt.
8. Imanol Harinordoquy – 8
Supreme in the air, carried well. Blocked off from tackling Woodcock for the try.
Barcella and Szarzewski added some bite, whilst Francois Trinh-Duc was magnificent; cutting New Zealand apart.
by Ben Coles