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France player ratings vs Italy | 2024 Guinness Six Nations

By Ian Cameron
France's flanker Charles Ollivon (C) looks on during the Six Nations rugby union international match between France and Italy at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, near Lille, northern France, on February 25, 2024. (Photo by Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP) (Photo by SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images)

France player ratings: In a nail-biting encounter that kept fans on the edge of their seats until the final whistle, France and Italy battled to a 13-13 all-draw in the third round of the Six Nations under the roof in Lille.

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Despite moments of brilliance and desperation alike, neither side could clinch the decisive blow in a match that promised little but delivered a lot.

Here we rate the France players, who looked like a team of strangers at times, the backs in particular playing like a pub team.

1. Cyril Baille – 6
Baille’s effort was notable for his solid scrummaging and commitment in the loose. He provided a strong foundation for France, even if the sparkle was somewhat missing from his usually excellent ball-carrying.

2. Peato Mauvaka – 5
Mauvaka was reliable at lineout time and industrious around the park. While his work rate was commendable, he continues to cough up handling errors.

3. Uini Atonio – 6
Atonio anchored the scrum with formidable strength, providing a stable platform for France’s attacking game. His impact in tight exchanges and ball-carrying added valuable metres, but his scrummaging dominance fell away sharply as the game wore on.

4. Cameron Woki – 6
Woki’s athleticism shone through on occasion, with several key lineout takes and dynamic contributions in open play. That said, was one of a number of below-par performances in a pack that struggled to hit the high notes.

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5. Posolo Tuilagi – 7
Tuilagi showed flashes of the power that he’s known, his hunger for the ball in attack standing out. His destructiveness at the ruck is staggering – man-handling Italian forwards at times – and he showed surprisingly soft hands that belie his 149kg frame. Not the most industrious in covering metres in defence – which is hardly surprising given his size.

6. Paul Boudehent – 7
Boudehent was tireless, showing great energy throughout the game. His defensive work rate was commendable, although he lacked a bit in terms of offensive impact.

Fixture
Six Nations
France
13 - 13
Full-time
Italy
All Stats and Data

7. Charles Ollivon – 6.5
The Toulon man led by example – taking France’s first try well.  Despite his valiant attempts to inspire and carry momentum, France’s backs continuously failed to capitalize on the platform set by the forwards, resulting in a disjointed French performance.

8. Francois Cros – 6
Cros was everywhere in the first half, a true nuisance for the Italian side with his defensive prowess and breakdown work. He was one of the more consistent French players, even if he was playing out of position at No.8.

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9. Maxime Lucu – 5
Maxime Lucu struggled to impose any control over the game, with slow service and a few tactical misjudgments that hindered France’s attacking flow. Nolann Le Garrec was a notable improvement.

10. Matthieu Jalibert – 4
Jalibert was notably below par again, marked by hesitant decision-making and inaccurate kicking. An unfortunate ankle injury cut short his game, preventing any chances for redemption in the second half.

11. Matthis Lebel – 6
Lebel had moments where his speed and agility threatened, but those instances were too few. His work off the ball was better than on it, indicating room for growth.

12. Jonathan Danty – 4
Prior to the red card, it was a better display from Danty after some awful performances of late. He was relatively solid in the midfield, offering physicality in defence and some effective runs. His combination with Fickou didn’t quite fire on all cylinders. A careless tackle on Juan Ignacio Brex ended his game before halftime after it was upgraded  by the bunker

Attack

193
Passes
177
138
Ball Carries
113
360m
Post Contact Metres
270m
5
Line Breaks
4

13. Gael Fickou – 5
Fickou tried to jump-start France’s attack – with several line breaks – but couldn’t find France’s three-quarter line with a microscope. He was one of the more effective backs, even in a game where France’s backline didn’t fully ignite.

14. Damian Penaud – 5
Penaud’s work rate and desire to attack space were commendable in an otherwise somewhat flat performance. He looked dangerous at times, even if there were also a few uncharacteristic errors from the Bordeaux man, not least shanking a chip straight into touch on 31 minutes.

15. Thomas Ramos – 6
Ramos was reliable at the back, dealing well with Italy’s kicking game and contributing with his boot in return. Was less involved.

REPLACEMENTS

16. Julien Marchand – 5
Coming off the bench, Marchand added energy and solidity to the French front row but was guilty of sloppy ball protection, notably being stripped of the pill when France were desperately trying to gather momentum.

17. Sebastien Taofifenua – 4
Taofifenua offered fresh legs but Taofifenua faced a challenging day at the office at the setpiece, his scrummaging falling short of expectations.

18. Dorian Aldegheri – 4
Like Taofifenua, Aldegheri struggled to keep the scrum steady but didn’t make a significant impact around the park.

Possession

Team Logo
4%
29%
34%
34%
Team Logo
14%
27%
49%
10%
Team Logo
Team Logo
78%
Possession Last 10 min
22%
53%
Possession
47%

19. Romain Taofifenua – 6
His physicality was welcome in the second row, providing a boost in the engine room but without standout moments.

20. Alexandre Roumat – 5
Roumat delivered a middling performance, showing flashes of potential but ultimately failing to leave a significant mark on the game.

21. Esteban Abadie – NA
Limited game time didn’t allow Abadie to showcase his abilities or influence the game significantly.

22. Nolann Le Garrec – 7
Le Garrec injected some pace and tried to spark the attack, even if he was working with a 14-man France team very much under the pump.

23. Yoram Moefana – 5
Moefana brought enthusiasm and a few neat touches after coming on for Jailbert, but he didn’t have the answer to France’s flatlining backs division.

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Poorfour 10 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

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