Wales v France: France player ratings

france

15. Brice Dulin: 5
The match could not have started much worse for the Castres fullback. He made a hash of dealing with Liam Williams’ speculative chip through, collided with Jean-Marc Doussain and the pair of them could only watch as George North pounced on the loose ball to score the game’s opening try. He did get better after that but – really – the only way was up.

14. Yoann Huget: 6
Crossed the Welsh whitewash in the 13th minute, but referee Alain Rolland – reffing his final match before retiring, and who was the man with the whistle for the notorious 2011 World Cup semi-final between these two sides – had spotted that Pascal Papé had knocked on moments earlier. After that, Huget was relegated to a defensive role as a disorganised France were pretty much played off the Millennium Stadium pitch.

13. Mathieu Bastareaud: 4.5
Another largely anonymous night’s work for France’s blunt weapon. Until Les Bleus employ him in the same role he fills so well for Toulon, which they won’t, he’s a waste of an XXXL 13 shirt.

12. Wesley Fofana: 5
The Clermont rapier has, generally, been marshalled well by Six Nations opponents, who have apparently decided that by neutralising him, they neutralise much of Les Bleus’ attacking threat. It nearly worked for England. It definitely did work for Wales. Showed flashes of what he can do, but they were all too rare as he was effectively kept out of the game by Roberts and North.

11. Hugo Bonneval: 5
Rarely got the chance to show what he can do in attack, but worked hard for his team in defence. Needs to work on his communication with team-mates, though.

10. Jules Plisson: 6
Did well on his first international start against England, had a relatively easy ride against Italy. Found out just how tough international rugby can be with this baptism of Welsh Dragon fire. Won’t escape without criticism, as he was unable to marshall the French as well as, perhaps, he should, but should still start against Scotland.

9. Jean-Marc Doussain: 3.5
Doussain had arguably the worst nightmare on an evening of French nightmares. Not much went right for the mercurial scrum-half. His kicking was wayward. His passing was worse. He and Dulin collided to gift George North the game’s opening try. The fact that Philippe Saint-Andre took him off at halftime speaks volumes.

1. Tomas Domingo: 4.5
Wales dominated the scrum. Which is bad news for the French front row as a whole. Domingo is a furious scrummager, but Adam Jones is better and, once the key part of his game had been undone, Domingo had little else to offer at the Millennium Stadium.

2. Dimitri Szarzewski: 4.5
The beautifully coiffed one lost the hookers’ battle of the hair-products in just about all parts of the game. Worked hard, as he always does, but Hibbard had his number early on.

3. Nicolas Mas: 4.5
Sin-binned after referee Alain Rolland decided he’d had enough of awarding penalties at the scrum. France’s pack were already in trouble, and needed their gnarled old warrior to be a rock. He wasn’t – and France paid dearly.

4. Pascal Papé: 4.5
Ineffective as a captain, not much better in the lineout, as Warburton and the hastily assembled Welsh second-row of Luke Charteris and Jake Ball combined to rule the roost. A poor night all round for the Stade Francais lock.

5. Yoann Maestri: 4
Probably did enough to ensure he’ll be warming the bench when France head to Edinburgh on March 8. Heads are bound to roll after Friday night in Cardiff and Maestri could well be a sacrifice.

6. Yannick Nyanga: 6.5
Spent much of his time on the field being the immoveable object to North and Roberts’ combined unstoppable forces. One of the few French players to emerge from this game with some credit.

7. Wenceslas Lauret: 5
The one forced change to the starting line-up made by Saint-Andre for this game didn’t do much wrong, but hardly made his presence felt, either. Expect Le Roux to be recalled for the Scotland game.

8. Louis Picamoles: 5.5
Sin-binned just after Mas returned to the pitch, which meant France were a man down for 20 consecutive minutes in the second half. His reaction to Mr Rolland’s decision prompted some to wonder whether he should have seen red. Shame, as until then he’d been one of the few French players in Cardiff deserving of some praise.

By James Harrington (@blackmountained)

2 thoughts on “Wales v France: France player ratings

  1. 5 seems a little low for Bonneval, as he was the one France player with some intent. I thought that Dulin also played very well – in spurts – and not so well at other times.

    3.5 might be generous for Doussain, a performance of almost Bergamascoesque stature.

    St Andre comes in for a lot of criticism, but I think he got that one spot-on.

    Not sure that Picamoles was overly deserving of some praise before his card, and subsequent actions. He seemed to run away from his support and seemed more intent on proving he could beat Cuthbert than actually doing anything positive.

  2. I agree on Picamole ,my main memory of him (apart from the yellow card petulance ) is of him being bundled into touch multiple times . Clearly targeted by Wales as the main French ball carrier, something which which he can be brilliant at, and got nowhere with it all night . So if your main contribution to a team is nullified and you get a yellow card in the process then I’d take a point off him at least .

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