"Outclassed" France stars shredded in merciless ratings by local media 3 weeks ago

"Outclassed" France stars shredded in merciless ratings by local media

Merciless ratings from the French rugby 'bible'.

France were sorely missing Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack, Anthony Jelonch and a few others, but Ireland had some fresher faces in their XV, too.


While almost everyone agreed that the winner of Friday's night Six Nations opener in Marseille was red-hot favourite to win the title, there was a 70/30 split on predictions for who would come out on top. Ireland had plenty of backers, but the likes of Ben Cay, Chris Ashton and the Virgin Media panel of Kearney, Trimble and Horgan sided with Les Bleus.

Stade Velodrome is a demon of a place to play in and the home support did their part. The expectation was that France, with Bordeaux half-backs Maxime Lucu and Mathieu Jalibert in tandem, would have too much for an Ireland side missing Johnny Sexton, Garry Ringrose and Mack Hansen.

As it turned out, Ireland were on it from the get-go and, thanks to the ineptitude of lock Paul Willemse (red-carded after two high shots), the hosts could never dig out of the early hole they foundf themselves in. Ireland racked up a record 38-17 victory and are already sitting pretty in the standings.



France player ratings from their leading outlet

"Tonight they outclassed us in every area," France centre Gael Fickou admitted. "We were very quickly reduced to 14 whereas, but it was already proving tough against them with 15. We were not clinical enough and Ireland fully deserved their victory."

The final France player ratings, over in Rugbyrama (the online arm of Midi Olympique) pulled zero punches. Here is how Fabien Galthie's men rated:

6/10: Francois Cros with the top score from all the starters

5/10: Matthieu Jalibert and Paul Gabrillagues, two of the French try-scorers just about treading water. Uini Atonio, Cyril Baille and France captain Gregory Alldritt also scored 5s

4/10: Thomas Ramos, try-scorer Damian Penaud, Peato Mauvaka and Charles Ollivon

3.5/10: Yoram Moefana, who was accused of being "invisible in the first half"

3/10: Gaël Fickou and centre partner Jonathan Danty (blamed for two tries) both scored poorly

2.5/10: Maxime Lucu 'appeared overwhelmed' and 'seemed lost' in a performance that will have fans yearning for Dupont

2/10: The lowest score came to Paul Willemse after 'a nightmarish evening' ended with effectively two yellows cards AND an upgraded red.


Up next for the scalded French are Scotland, in Edinburgh, next Saturday (February 10).

"It's not positive," reflected Galthie. "A difficult first half. We were quickly down to 14 players and it soon got us into difficulty... it's a hard moment for us all to go through. Hiwever, the tournament continues and there are four matches to play, starting with Scotland in right days. We are going to get ready for that."



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