France v Ireland player ratings
Man-for-man marking from the Six Nations match at the Stade de France in Paris
Sunday 04 March 2012
Following the contest between France and Ireland we take a look at how the individual players performed.
Do you agree with our ratings? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
Jean Baptiste Poux:
Won the scrum battle against Mike Ross but possibly lost the break down war, particularly in the first half. 7Dimitri Szarzewski:
Took a bit of stick for his line out throwing against Scotland, but was more solid today, finding the French jumpers regularly. Helped put the squeeze on the Irish scrum too. 6Nicolas Mas:
Scrummed hard against a determined Cian Healy but seemed to flag as the game wore on. Raised breakdown intensity by several notches early in the second half. 6Pascal Pape:
Threw a spanner in the Irish line-out a few times to good affect, and brought a fiery presence to France’s better breakdown work in the second period. 7Yoann Maestri:
The Toulouse lock is a fairly new addition to the France pack and received a beneficial lesson in away opponent stubbornness, as the Irish pack brought intensity from the first whistle. Good line-out work will have enhanced reputation. 7Thierry Dusautoir:
French captain will feel disappointed with his first half contribution, as the green defensive line pushed back Les Blues’ ball carriers. But led his side to a comprehensive second half victory and will feel aggrieved his side didn’t take the victory. 7Julien Bonnaire:
Struggled to get over the gainline in the first half but helped secure clean French ball in the second and benefitted from Irish ill-discipline in the ruck. 6
Not the most distinguished game from the lauded number eight – made little impact with ball-in-hand and was notably out-jumped by a Rob Kearney for a fantastic catch in the second half. 5
Poor game for the scrum half who was too often delivering slow ball to receivers who were quickly snaffled by onrushing Irish tacklers. Missed a couple of potentially match-winning kicks at goal too. 5François Trinh-Duc:
Made a couple of eye-catching breaks but made some silly errors thanks to constant Irish pressure. 6Julien Malzieu:
Not his most effective game – saw little of the ball but did almost have a chance for a try with the game’s final move but was easily bundled into touch. 6Wesley Fofana:
Superb try makes it three touchdowns in three games for the centre. Took his score excellently after the Irish defensive line succumbed as the game broke up. 8Aurelien Rougerie:
Will want to forget this game fairly quick. Telegraphed pass to Bowe sent the Irish winger in for the opener try and then failed to trouble the Irish defensively. 5Vincent Clerc:
Game was largely played in physical phases in the middle of the field so possibly could’ve went looking for more work. 6Clement Poitrenaud:
Drafted in for the injured Medard, the full-back was fairly solid defensively but undistinguished in attack. 5Pick of the replacements – Lionel Beauxis:
The drop-goal specialist was drafted in to try and win the game but his two efforts at goal – one scuffed daisy cutter, the other blocked by Stephen Ferris – were woeful. Could’ve made the difference for France. 4Ireland
Looked knackered towards the end and no wonder – the Leinster prop was an always willing ball carrier and tackled incredibly hard. He was incredibly lucky not to be yellow carded for a fairly deliberate but of disruption in the French line in the first half. 7Rory Best:
Best was again solid in defence and worked hard against a tough French scrum. But for second week running was suspect with line-out throws, and will particularly regret overthrowing with the Irish ten yards from the French line deep in the second half. 5Mike Ross:
Tough game for Ross, who was occasionally buckled by opposite front row Poux during the scrum. Took a bloody bash to the eye for his trouble but never stopped working. 6Donncha O’Callaghan:
This physical game suited O’Callaghan but, like many of the Irish pack, was guilty of ill-discipline at the breakdown as Ireland continually gave away soft penalties. Still under pressure from replacement lock Donnacha Ryan. 6Paul O’Connell:
Will feel disappointed at concession of 11 point half-time advantage, but can take heart from Ireland’s excellent defensive performance towards the end. Knows there’s a lot of work to be done in the line-out and in Ireland’s discipline in the ruck. 7Stephen Ferris:
Once again one of Ireland’s stand out performers. Hard, straight ball carrier troubled France defence to the extent Les Blues had to literally rip the Ulsterman’s shirt off to hold him back. 8Sean O’Brien:
Looked unsurprisingly frustrated when being replaced by Peter O’M ahony in the second half. Struggled to make yards with trademark powerful ball carrying. 6Jamie Heaslip:
Contributed to mammoth Irish defensive effort in the second half but will feel frustrated with lack of impact in attack. Unforced fumble late on could’ve cost Ireland the game. 6Conor Murray:
Much better performance from the Munster scrum half the last week. His physical presence was put to good use as France’s huge ball-carriers continually rumbled down the fringe and seemed to have extra snap to his delivery. Looks certain to miss remainder of the tournament after sustaining a serious looking knee injury. 7Jonathan Sexton:
Immense effort from Sexton who was to the fore in both defence and attack. Made several eye catching hook tackles and passed the ball with convictions. His tactical kicking from hand, though, still looks patchy. 7Andrew Trimble:
The Ulster winger tried hard to find space but usually ran down French cul-de-sacs. Defended well though until replaced by Fergus McFadden after 70 minutes. 6Gordon D’Arcy:
Defensively sound, made numerous hard hits and didn’t take a backward step but could’ve varied Ireland’s attack more instead of continually running into contact. Unfortunate passing error ended Ireland’s last chance to win the game. 6Keith Earls:
He may be several inches shorter than the likes of Rougerie, but the Munster back never takes a backward step. Brave and important defensive performance and popped up all over the pitch during green attacks. 7Tommy Bowe:
Two tries brought his tournament haul up to 4 – and it could’ve been even more if a couple of intercept attempts had’ve stuck to his hands. Took tries well even if he was a little fortunate for the second. 8Rob Kearney:
Kearney is putting together the kind of form which saw him named at 15 for the Lions three years ago. Great counter attacking running combined with excellent defending and at least two sublime catches. Ireland’s man of the match. 8Pick of the replacements – Eoin Reddan
Murray had a much better game today but it was still noticeable how much quicker Reddan delivers the pill currently. Quick passing and decision making helped Ireland pin the French back in their own half with ten minutes to go, and unfortunate Ireland didn’t grab a potentially game-winning score. 7
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