Australia v. France III: Player Ratings

Australia v. France III: Player Ratings

A far more open game of rugby on a delightful Sydney afternoon proved to be seventh heaven for the Wallabies, as they extended their undefeated home streak over the French to eleven games.

The more significant ‘streak’ is that it is now seven wins in a row for Ewen’s Wallabies providing them an almost perfect lead in to the upcoming Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship battles to come.

This 39-13 defeat of France was more Brisbane than Melbourne and matched strong forward work with some magic out wide – a formula sure to bring the crowds back as well as, hopefully, some silverware.

Player ratings for this game are below. Be sure to let us know below what you think, not that you have ever needed an invitation.

James SlipperJames_Slipper

Must be close to the Wallaby Player of the Series, given his consistency. We know a prop shouldn’t be rated on his loose play alone, but Slipper’s contribution around the field highlight his value to the team whilst he continues to contribute in tight as well.  7

Tatafu Polota-Nau Tatafu_Polota-Nau

Produced his best game in the Green and Gold for sometime, full of bullocking runs, strong defense and plenty of aggressiveness at the ruck. Scrums have been messy all season but TPN displayed some tremendous strength to marshal his pack. 8

Sekope Kepu Sekope_Kepu

Sekope’s biggest challenge has been producing back to back high quality test performances. Well he has done it now, following on from his G&GR MOM performance last week, and was part of a Aussie front row that is really starting to make it’s mark on the test stage. Next step? Doing the same in the Rugby Championship.  7

Will Skelton

Let’s consider what Skelton was brought in to do. We weren’t looking for the 80 minute work horse game that Sam Will_SkeltonCarter produced in the first test. It was to make an impact on the opposition defensive line after a somewhat static attacking effort by the Wallabies last week. When marked on that, he was outstanding. Strength got him the first try of the match and the French fear of it, plus a handy dash of skill, got the Wallabies another with his off-load to Izzy. Possibly the best Wallaby forward debut since Willie O in 1990? 8

Rob Simmons Rob-Simmons

Another very strong game from Simmons as he controlled the line out well and once again proved a defensive asset for his team. Mixed up his line-out calls astutely, and tested himself on occasions when double teamed by the French. Developing into the mail man of the Aussie line-out – always delivering. 

Scott Fardy Scott-Fardy

The end of a disappointing series for Fardy, hot on the heels of securing the Green & Gold Rugby Player of the Season in 2013. We know it’s a prestigious award but we hope it  is not too much of a burden to live with, it’s just we sure miss the Fardy of last year. Not the dominant presence at the ruck he was in ’13, and is making uncharacteristic mistakes too often.  

Michael Hooper Michael_Hooper

Another all action game from, Captain Fantastic, Michael Hooper.  Topped the tackle count for the Wallabies and was again a weapon in attack. Whereas Steve Larkham used to ‘ghost’ through the defensive line, Hooper ‘demons’ his way through, using his power and acceleration. Rewarded with a deserved try. 8

Wycliff Palu Wycliff_Palu

Have we seen a finer performance by big Cliff in the Wallaby jersey? I can’t recall one. He was my Player of the Match, in front of Hooper and TPN, for his impact from the very beginning. Always dangerous in attack, his presence was really felt at the ruck and maul as well. We NEED to see this form against the All Blacks to bring that big cup back from across the dutch. 9 (G&GR MOM) 

Nic White Nic_White

A different game from last week, which seemed to more suit his style, White struggled to find his groove early with some inaccurate passing, and of course kicking from the first touch of the day (a handy one, it must be said). Was able to demonstrate his skills as the game progressed, controlling the attack around the ruck. 6

Bernard FoleyBernard-Foley

This combination seems to be struggling and I can’t pinpoint if it’s inside with the scrummie our outside with the in-centre. Regardless Foley is not controlling his backline and in this game they again lacked the direction needed. Some dodgy hands and poor passing was mixed with some flashes of class and a great day with the boot. Can he win us a Bledisloe though? Not in this form it would seem. 

Nick Cummins Nick_Cummins

This was not the Badger’s day. Neither winger saw much ball for most of the first half and when it got to Cummins, his space was limited or the pass from inside was poor. Highlight was a gutsy as buggery one armed tackle when the other was injured. Can’t deny his effort. 6

Matt Toomua Matt-Toomua

A victim perhaps of his inside man, and hasn’t formed the same combo with Foley that he did with Quade Cooper last year. Crabbed a bit in attack and was largely non-effective. Strong in defense still and will be critical to our further success this year. 6

Tevita Kuridrani Tevita_Kuridrani

It was great to see him throw himself into the game early on with some strong runs in tight. Made every effort to get his hands on the ball early and get some key metres for the Wallabies. The effort seemed to fade and he remained in his 13 channel, still looked dangerous ball in hand, but was well covered by the French. 

Adam Ashley-Cooper


Suffered from a lack of ball, as with Cummins, the result of which were barely significant. Had a couple of opportunities to break away, but the Wallabies are lacking that out and out speedster on the flank to strongly counter from deep. Looked much better when moved to outside centre. 6 

Israel Folau


As dangerous as always and added two more tries to his test tally giving him 13 from 18 tests (more than Digby Ioane, Peter Grigg, Cyril Towers and Col Windon). Some loose disposals provided frustration for his outside men and was the difference between his performance here and in Brisbane, as he seemed to take a couple of steps too many before unloading. Still bloody unbelievable though. 8

Nathan Charles Nathan_Charles

Only got on for the last ten minutes or so and made no real impact in this time. No rating

Scott Sio Scott_Sio

Was on for about half an hour having replaced Slipper. Scrummed strongly and threw his considerable weight around. Good impact 6

Laurie Weeks Laurie Weeks

Played about 20  minutes after coming on for Kepu. Made one strong run but couldn’t be seen much other than that. 5

James Horwill James_Horwill

Provided excellent impact from the bench and perhaps has found his role to play moving forward to the Rugby Championship. Threw himself into everything running strongly, clearing the ruck, and making his presence felt. 7 

Ben McCalman Ben_McCalman

Played just under 20 minutes and was like Horwill in workload, without quite the same impact, but kept the momentum of the game going by doing plenty of work across the pitch. 6

Nick Phipps Nick_Phipps

Played the last quarter efficiently enough. Was alert enough to back himself for a quick tap and was rewarded with a try late in the game. 6


Kurtley Beale Kurtley_Beale

Came on for Toomua and the Tah combo with Foley was evident in the try the two set up for their skipper. Provided a bit of zip zip as we hoped as the setting was made for him. This seems to be his role, being given somewhat of a free reign from the bench. 6

Rob Horne Rob_Horne

Only got on for the last ten minutes or so and made no real impact in this time. No rating

The patented G&GR ratings guide:

10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all-round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke



The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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