By Jacob Jaffa |
Final Score: France 22 – Scotland 15
Scotland were outplayed at Murrayfield by a powerful French team. While the margin of victory was only 7, France never looked like conceding a try and Scotland were outmuscled. Only some poor French discipline kept the game so close.
1. Jean-Baptiste Gros – 6/10
Not a lot of work in the loose but had Simon Berghan and then Zander Fagerson on toast several times in the scrum. Replaced early in the 2ndhalf.
2. Camille Chat – 7/10
Man of the match in the first half. Very physical, good marshalling of the scrum and a menace over the ball. A new-style hooker who draws comparisons with the excellent Springbok Malcolm Marx. Lineout went a little wayward early in the second half and was replaced on 53mins by Julien Marchand who continued the excellent work.
3. Demba Bamba – 5/10
Good work from the young man. Similarly to Gros, he did not make much impact outside of the scrum but did far better in that area than could be expected from such an inexperienced player. Replaced 55 minutes in by Haouas.
4. Bernard Le Roux – 4/10
Not the best game for big Bernard. Gave away a couple of penalties and fumbled a restart. Did not have much to do in the lineout as France didn’t often compete until later in the game. However, he was in the engine room of France’s scrum dominance.
5. Roman Taofifenua – 6/10
A physical presence in defence and added decisive weight to the French scrum. Some big hits and good loose work.
6. Dylan Cretin – 5/10
The unfortunately named 6’7″ backrower made a poor start, giving away some penalties and doing little in the loose. Improved later on with some good lineout work.
7. Charles Ollivon – 6/10
Not the impact he usually has. Not a bad game but he can do so much better. Solid in defence and led his team to a good win.
8. Gregory Alldritt – 6/10
Again, not his usual self. Good work over the ball and some decent carries but we didn’t hear his name as often as we have come to expect.
9. Antoine Dupont – 8/10
The little maestro. Not the most obvious impact but a top of the range scrum half who drives his team around the field with precision, speed and artistic flair. He is everywhere and runs the best support lines in the Northern Hemisphere, if not the world. On his best days, he can work miracles but today he had to settle for being world class.
10. Mathieu Jalibert – 5/10
Put in a dependable performance as understudy for the injured Ntamack. Young and inexperienced, he struggled under the high ball and was relieved of some major offensive duties in favour of the more mature Fickou. Played nicely though and kicked well out of hand, especially a very smartly called drop goal.
11. Vincent Rattez – 7/10
Brilliant in attack. Exactly the sort of flair player that France are known for. A few line breaks and assisted Vakatawa’s try. Deceptively powerful as well as incredibly quick. However, looked less secure under the high ball and did not feature too heavily in defence. Replaced in the 70thminute.
12. Gael Fickou – 8/10
France’s defensive organiser did his job superbly. The French defence bent but never looked close to breaking, with only individual ill-discipline costing them 3 pointers. Took on responsibility as an attacking lynchpin in the absence of Ntamack, nearly put Vakatawa through with a neat kick early on and set up his later try with a gorgeous inside ball.
13. Virimi Vakatawa – 9/10
Excellent game from the big outside centre. Ran hard and battered the Scottish defence, which had been the talk of the 6 nations. Deserved his try just after half time after being denied twice before. Deserved man of the match.
14. Teddy Thomas – 3/10
Did not touch the ball for about 50 minutes and contributed very little. Far from his fault though. Outshone by Rattez.
15. Thomas Ramos – 7/10
Kicked well enough out of hand, though he sent one out on the full under little pressure, but off the tee was where he made his impact. A 95% success rate put France firmly in control.
1. Oli Kebble – 3/10
Little to no impact. Unstable in the scrum, though less often penalised than his co-prop. Did not get much joy in the loose either.
2. Fraser Brown – 4/10
The lineout was more stable under him than his replacement but never got the drive on in the way we saw in the Six Nations. An unremarkable performance.
3. Simon Berghan – 1/10
Eaten alive by Gros at scrum time and gave away several key penalties. Taken off before half time for Zander Fagerson who aided the set piece.
4. Scott Cummings – 3/10
Did not really do anything. The lineout was uncertain, especially with Turner at hooker. No impact in attack.
5. Johnny Gray – 2/10
Rather like Cummings except as lineout chief he can be blamed for some of its failings. Failed to marshal the forwards properly.
6. Jamie Ritchie – 3/10
Usually far better. I don’t remember him winning a turnover all game, which is rare for him. Decent defensive shift until he gave away 3 consecutive penalties which, thankfully for him, the French failed to score from.
7. Hamish Watson – 3/10
Decent in defence but can be so much better going forward. Equally failed to make a nuisance of himself in the ruck.
8. Matt Fagerson – 2/10
Scotland are crying out for a dependable number 8. The younger Fagerson is not there yet. His game was summed up when he fumbled a kick return in 25 yards of open space.
9. Ali Price – 3/10
Again inconspicuous. Box kicking never really gained Scotland ground and seemed disorganised. Did not have much quick ball to work with due to French breakdown dominance.
10. Duncan Weir – 5/10
Looked assured and well-structured but lacks the attacking edge of Russell or Hastings. While sometimes order is good, a little chaos is occasionally needed to break a game open and that’s not something he provides.
11. Duhan van der Merwe – 7/10
Speaking of chaos – the man known as the big Jock Bok has had a breakout start to his international career. I can’t say I have seen him tackled behind the gainline. He just always makes yards and will be very valuable for Scotland in future.
12. Sam Johnson – 3/10
Useful link play but not much impact beyond that. Did little more than ship the ball on or kick to nothing.
13. Chris Harris – 2/10
I don’t think I heard his name until the 70thminute.
14. Blair Kinghorn – 5/10
Managed well in the backfield and covered kicks well. Never looked as threatening as he can though.
15. Stuart Hogg – 3/10
Played pretty well but made no impact. Occasionally made metres but was cancelled out by his team’s weakness as the breakdown and set piece. Loses heavy marks for overshooting the kick on the last play when he could have given Scotland the chance to draw.