- 24 Feb 07, 11:44 PM
Cardiff - Wales stunned France with two early tries but were unable to stop the powerful home side from thundering back to keep alive their Grand Slam hopes with a 32-21 victory in Paris.
See if you agree with my ratings.
L Byrne – 7: Remarkably assured performance considering this was only his second game since mid-January after injury. Linked up well in attack but was caught out of position for Dominici’s try.
M Jones – 6: Very little opportunity to show his pace, but made one stunning break which almost resulted in a try early in the second-half.
T Shanklin – 8: A superb try-scoring display, full of aggression in attack and defence. Provided the balance the Wales midfield had been missing in the two previous defeats and almost gave Wales the perfect start to the second-half with a try.
J Hook – 6: Another quiet performance and guilty of a number of missed tackles, but did well to feed Shanklin for the second try.
S Williams – 6: Came off his wing at every opportunity to look for work. Showed glimpses of his side-stepping magic, but found the France defence a tough nut to crack.
S Jones – 6: A vast improvement on his showing in Scotland, and showed his attacking threat by beating his opposite number to create Robinson’s try. Uncharacteristically wasteful with his attempts at goal and seems unable to inspire his troops.
D Peel – 7: Did his best behind a retreating scrum and was assured in the tackle. Few of his trademark snipping runs, but suffered from a lack of clean possession.
G Jenkins – 5: Brought in to ensure an improvement in the scrums, but found himself on the retreat more often than not.
M Rees – 5: Difficult circumstances in which to make his first Six Nations start. Struggled with his line-out throwing in the first-half but did plenty of work in the loose to earn another chance.
C Horsman – 5: Failed to provide the brute force in the front-row his inclusion was designed to achieve. Continued his habit of conceding needless penalties. Allowed Dominci to get past him far too easily for France’s first try.
I Gough – 7: Made a storming start by stealing French line-out ball and knocking the French backwards with some big hits. Fell away towards the later stages, but did enough to keep his place to face Italy.
A W Jones – 5: A quiet game by his rising standards. Failed to disrupt France line-out ball and showed few glimpses of his undoubted athleticism.
A Popham – 9: A typical all-action performance - head and shoulders above his colleagues in the pack. Showed his pace and power to score and great opportunist try, and worked tirelessly in defence. Proved beyond doubt he deserved to keep his place after calls to re-call veteran Colin Charvis.
M Williams – 7: Plenty of work in defence to keep him busy, which he performed with his usual tenacity. The lack of ball meant he was less prominent than usual in link-up play.
R Jones – 6: Largely anonymous in both defence and attack. Wales needed a bigger performance from their number eight.
J Robinson – 7: Showed his pace to breeze past the last France defender to score his late try, and made a few half-breaks after replacing Mark Jones.
M Phillips – 7: Did his claims of a start against Italy no harm with a lively display in the final 15 minutes. Added impetus to the Wales attack which seemed to lift the whole team.
D Jones – 5: Replaced Horsman but had little chance from the France front-row.
Other replacements did not have enough time to earn a mark.