France v Italy: Player ratings

Man-for-man marking from the Six Nations match at the Stade de France in Paris.

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The Independent Online

Following the contest between France and Italy we take a look at how the individual players performed.

Do you agree with our ratings? Leave your thoughts and comments below.

France

Vincent Debaty: First cap in almost six years for the Belgian born prop and a decent run out, albeit a testing one given he was facing the monstrous Castrogiovanni on the opposite side of the scrum. Held up well under pressure and can be satisfied with his contribution. 6

William Servat: Experienced hooker saw a couple of his darts stolen and had his hands full against a fired up Ghiraldini but was a steady presence during periods of sustained Italian pressure. 7

Nicolas Mas: Another who was ferocious in the tight, although did creak a little against Lo Cicero in the scrum. Took advantage after the Italian front five tired to help see out the game. 6

Pascal Pape: A stand out French performer, some fearsome running with ball in the hand combined with useful stint in the line-out and disciplined defence – strong display from the Stade Francais man. 8

Lionel Nallet: The old man of the French team yet again proves this Six Nations stuff isn’t just for the young – offered leadership and patience in the face of numerous Italian attacks. 7

Thierry Dusautoir: Any sign the International Player of the Year 2011 is suffering a hangover in 2012? Not a chance – made several juddering hits, a few rampaging runs and captained his side to a comfortable victory despite a stern Italian test. Not a classic performance, but an expected one. 7

Julien Bonnaire: Key to France’s intensity at the breakdown, which rarely gave the Italian’s the opportunity of quick ball. Not as visible as fellow back row colleagues, but quietly effective nonetheless. 6

Louis Picamoles: Made a fall guy by Marc Livremont during the World Cup, but justified the faith of his new coach by delivering a barnstorming performance. Lovely run and pass for Malzieu’s try, dynamic in the loose and a major presence around the field – take that Marc. 8

Dimitri Yachvili: Threw one pass about 20 yards forward in the first half, completely skewed two restarts and missed a penalty. But became more prominent as Italy tired in the second period and helped make the French counter attack lightning quick. 6

Francois Trinh-Duc: Quiet game from the enigmatic fly-half, but popped up with a marvellous chip-and-chase, featuring a Messi-esque kick-on, for Clerc’s match-sealing try. 6

Julien Malzieu: Today’s man-of-the-match scored a terrific try, shrugging off six tackles during a forty yard dash for the line, but also kept popping up infield to terrorise the Italian defence. Impressive. 8

Wesley Fofana: Debutant made some understandable errors in the first half, but was excellent after the break and scored a deserved and well-taken try. 8

Aurelien Rougerie: Another year, another unstoppable Rougerie performance – took an expert line to run in an easy try, set-up Clerc’s with his knee and made constant yards. Tireless. 7

Vincent Clerc: Became France’s joint all-time try scorer, level with his coach, after a typically opportunistic try. Defended well and another who shows no signs of waning. 7

Maxime Medard: Quiet game from the mutton-chopped full-back, seemed to be happy to let his three-quarter line make most of attack running. Solid. 6

Pick of the replacements – Dimitri Szarzweski: The hooker came on to see out the game and despite throwing a couple of wayward line-out darts, put himself about well. Not least when guiding a tremendous forward maul which culminated in an Italian yellow card and Fofana’s try. 6

Italy

Andrew Lo Cicero: Tore into the French scrum in the first-half, as the Azzurri sought to dominate the set-piece. Key factor in Italian intensity and sorely missed after being replaced by Lorenzo Cittadini. 7

Leonardo Ghiraldini: Sent home from World Cup after gouging Cian Healy, the hooker looked keen to make amends. A noticeable presence in the tight, seeing plenty of the ball and often breaking the gain line. Powerful stuff. 8

Martin Castrogiovanni: He’ll never break any land speed records, but remains a powerful presence when he gets the knees pumping. Moreover remains fearsome in a scrum – shame his good work was often wasted by Italy’s impotent backs. 6

Quentin Geldenhuys: Day to forget for South African born lock – wasted great Italian position in the first half for disrupting a line-out, yellow carded in the second for preventing a certain try by pulling down a maul. 4

Cornelius Van Zyl: Notable steal of a French line-out in the first half when Italy threatened to dominate all the set-pieces but powerless to prevent Les Blues scoring some easy tries. 5

Alessandro Zanni: Normally an 8, the Benetton Rugby back row was fairly anonymous and dominated by the fearsome Dusautoir. Ran hard with ball in hand but made little impact. 5

Robert Barbieri: Canadian born flanker showed some threat in the first half, making an excellent 20 yard break down the right wing. Unfortunately those opportunities were few and far between and was unable to stem the flow of French scores. 7

Sergio Parisse: Another excellent performance, another comfortable defeat. Hard to know if Parisse ever loses heart with his lot in Italian rugby, but he certainly doesn’t show it on the pitch – yet again he was warrior like and Italy’s most effective performer. 8

Edoardo Gori: Tried hard to implement Italy’s new expansive game, flinging decent ball out to his backs with pace, but efforts often were in vain. Was woeful for Malzieu’s try, being handed off twice. 5

Kris Burton: Did some good things, did some awful thing. On the plus side took an excellent drop goal and almost created a try from nothing with a grubber only to knock on. But repeatedly kicked away good attacking possession. Wasteful. 5

Luke McLean: Italy’s most potent attacker offered their best hope of a try with an excellent break in the second half, only to be stopped by Rougerie. Unlucky but likely we’ll be seeing more of McLean if the Azzurri maintain their new approach. 7

Alberto Sgarbi: Had his hands full watching Fofana and never able to make an impression with ball-in-hand. Seems unlikely he’s an answer to Italy’s creative woes. 5

Tommaso Benvenuti: Another who struggled against France’s fearsome centre partnership, and made little impact going forward. Still only 21 so will have better days. 5

Giovanbattista Venditti: Given his debut by new coach Brunel, Venditti and his youthful back colleagues offer Italy hope for the future but could offer little hope when it mattered today. 5

Andrea Masi: Could do little about the tries and is one of the few Italian players who attacks the gain line with serious pace. Decent enough game and will benefit from Brunel’s attempts to make Italy a better attacking side. 6

Pick of the replacements – Tobias Botes:  Usually a scrum half, but came on in place of Burton and proved he can kick for goal with a decent penalty. Late break and beautiful hand off almost resulted in a try. Promising. 7

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