France vs Italy Rugby World Cup 2015 player ratings: Louis Picamoles stars for Les Blues but Yoann Huget injury sours win

France 32 Italy 10

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The Independent Online

Veteran fly-half Frederic Michalak starred with the boot to get France off to a winning start in Pool D of the Rugby World Cup as Les Blues eased to a 32-10 victory over Six Nations rivals Italy, but it came at a cost.

Both France's tries came through props as Rabah Slimani and replacement Vincent Debaty crashed over, but the sight of Yoann Huget in tears after suffering a leg injury appeared to suggest the worst for the wing.


Scott Spedding – Looked very comfortable at the back and stepped up to convert a monster penalty from his own half.

Yoann Huget – Kept quiet on the whole but his one meaningful run led to the missed chance for Nakataici. On his second, he looked to be seriously injured and a shot of him crying soon after appeared to suggest his World Cup may be over. 6

Mathieu Bastareaud – Made his impact felt early with two powerful runs but faded in the second half as Italy looked to fight back. A massive hit on Allan towards the end certainly woke up the crowd. 6

Alexandre Dumoulin – Had a run towards the line early in the first half but was halted and had to make do with a penalty. Hit hard after the break, but didn’t do anything to suggest he will hold out Wesley Fofana when he returns from injury. 6

Noa Nakaitaci – Dropped the ball in the art of scoring that nearly went unnoticed,

Frederic Michalak – Missed early penalty, but made up for it just a minute later. Hit the post again 15 minutes later but managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over and some of his passing was a delight to watch. 7

Sebastien Tillous-Borde – Strangely the quieter of the scrum-halves, but didn’t do anything wrong and departed near the hour for fan favourite Morgan Parra. 6

Eddy Ben Arous – Gave France a strong platform in the first half and

Guilhem Guirado – Came within a whisker of a try when he took Nakataici’s offload and galloped all of 20 metres with McLean in hand. Strong work at the lineout and a solid night’s work. 7

Rabah Slimani; Where Guirado failed, Slimani succeeded as he was on hand to collect Michalak’s deft chip to touch down and score the opening try. Carried well and looked to get his hands on the ball. 7

Pascal Pape – Solid in the lineout but could have done more to make his presence felt with the ball in hand. 6

Yoann Maestri – Nearly conceded a try when he dropped the ball on his own line, but it was the only blemish on his report and thankfully for Les Blues didn’t cost them. 6

Thierry Dusautoir – Put in two hard hits in the first half when Italy were on the attack with Furno the unlucky recipient on both occasions. Good captaincy kept points on the board, before cutting lose and going for the corner when the game was won. 7

Damien Chouly – Not quite the conventional openside performance but did a lot of the dirty work at the breakdown. Tackled like a model pro though. 6

Louis Picamoles – always looked to drop back when the high ball went up and put together some commanding runs backt o make up some serious yardage. Departed with 15 minutes to go. 8


Luke McLean – Should have been able to stop Guirado before he did, but can be commended for his kicking from hand and was starved of the ball more than anything. 6

Leonardo Sarto – Very quiet on the wing and didn’t work hard enough to come in-field to find the ball. 5

Michele Campagnaro – Had a busy day with Bastareaud taking aim straight in his direction, but coped as well as he could and should not be disappointed with his work. 6

Andrea Masi – Forced off early with an ankle injury after his first meaningful run and reappeared in a protective boot. 5

Giovanbattista Venditti – Found space out right in close quarters to run in unopposed and gave the Italian fans hope – however false it was. 6

Tommaso Allan – His kicking from hand was good until he was charged down straight after the break, and recovered from an early miss from the tee to land his next two efforts. 6

Edoardo Gori – Sniped around the base relentless in the first half and made up considerable metres as a result, but his threat was nullified in the second half. 7

Matias Aguero – Struggled massively under pressure in the scrum in his battle with Slimani, with referee Craig Joubert quickly singling him out for special treatment from the whistle. 5

Leonardo Ghiraldini – In Sergio Parisse’s absence Ghiraldini stepped up to lead the side admirably, and he had one eye-catching run in the first-half that nearly resulted in a try. 6

Martin Castrogiovanni – Not many have barged the hairy prop to the floor but Picamoles did just that, and the sight of Castrogiovanni leaving the field shaking his head summed up his day’s work. 5

Quintin Geldenhays – Penalised twice in the first half at the ruck but battled hard in the lineout to try and disrupt the opposition. 6

Josh Furno – Carried very well until he found Dusatoir on more than one occasion, but remained the most prevalent off the Italian pack. 7

Alessandro Zanni – Needed to be a bit sharper at the breakdown and that left his side exposed whenever they took the ball into contact, meaning they repeatedly lost possession. 5

Francesco Minto – Clearly second best at the breakdown, though that’s no disappointment when Dusautoir is the opposition. Will want to step up his game next week though. 5

Samuel Vunisa – Ran back well in the Parisse mould, but he lacked the physical dominance that the Azzurri leader offers. 6