Wallaby Player Ratings v. France (Paris)

Wallaby Player Ratings v. France (Paris)

For the second year in a row the Wallabies have ended their season with an absolute ball-tearer. Last year it was in Cardiff when the George Smith–David Pocock double act blew the Welsh out of the water. This year it was in the city of love, and these Wallabies will certainly look back with fondness to their 2010 season-ender.

I’ve been delegated the Player Ratings again, and the risk here is getting carried away with the magnitude of the win and the poor performance of the French. In the end though, it was a record win against the mighty French in France. I think we’re entitled to get a little carried away.

15 Kurtley Beale: Gilbert was at his usual high quality. Perhaps he didn’t stand out as much because, for once, the rest of the backline were on fire as well. Created a lot of opportunity for his outside men. — 8

14 James O’Connor: Ran a great line for the first try, kicked almost perfectly, covered in defence, popped up where he needed to be and elsewhere, all after one of the most harrowing weeks of his short life. — 8

13 Adam Ashley-Cooper: THIS is the AAC we’ve been wanting to see. THIS is the AAC that can take over from Stirling Mortlock should the great man never make in back into the Wallaby team. An absolute brute of a game, running exquisite lines and utilising his powerful fend. Topped the tackle count too. G&GR Player of the Match. — 9

12 Berrick Barnes: Seemed somewhat off his game last week, but was the captain of the ship this week. This week, despite looking like a burns victim, he was in everything. Used the ball judiciously and provided some fantastic ball for his outside men. Rock solid in defence as always. — 8

11 Drew Mitchell: Scored a hat-trick. Can’t go past that really. Although… he put us under some early pressure with some dodgy kicks (one led to the scrum that led to the penalty try), but what a delight he is to see in full flight. Fantastic finishing and a powerful runner. Could have conceivably had four or five tries. — 8

10 Quade Cooper: Got rave reviews from his captain for controlling the game so well. Even Bob Dwyer made comment as to Quade underplaying his hand. He looked a little disinterested early on to me, but certainly came to life in the second half, and really had the French tacklers under pressure. — 7

9 Will Genia: His passing started way off-target, and he managed to slow down momentum occasionally. Equally though, he’s capable of ramping it up big time and he chose his runners well, organising the forwards around the fringes, which was an area we dominated. — 7

8 Ben McCalman: Once again looked lacking in physicality for test match footy. His workload pales in comparison to his backrow partners. — 6

7 David Pocock: Interestingly, it was his running game that stood out the most and there were times he was like a white Palu with the metres he made. Still managed to top the tackle count with the Earl and, guess what? He still hasn’t missed a tackle on tour. Oh… and he snagged a couple of turnovers. — 8


6 Rocky Elsom: Look back at his ratings over the latter part of this season and you can see how Rocky has slowly worked his way back into career-best form. His impact in the tackle and with ball in hand is significant. Was excellent in the lineout while being very prominent around the field. — 9

5 Nathan Sharpe: It wasn’t that long ago that, along with our scrum, our lineout wasn’t functioning effectively and our kick-off receipts were, let’s face it, shithouse. Sharpie has been a big factor in turning this around and he was monstrous securing the restarts on Saturday. — 8

4 Rob Simmons:  Has adapted to test footy very easily, against two of the most physical packs in world rugby. Was a busy presence at the ruck, and worked hard in defence. — 7

3 Ben Alexander: Packed really poorly, hips too high and feet too far back and failed to adapt to the referee. Other than that, I honestly thought he was very good. Snagged a cracking turnover and was busy around the park. We can’t consider him a tighthead prop anymore if he isn’t going to play tighthead for the Brumbies. — 5

2 Stephen Moore: Another very good performance with pinpoint lineout throwing, plenty of runs, tackles and ruck involvements. A real pack leader and a vital component of this Wallaby team. — 8

1 James Slipper: What a battle he’s faced in his last two test starts. This week it was starting at loosehead and then switching across to tighthead. He and Benn Robinson settled in well and the scrum steadied. Was once again effective in general play during a match dominated by backline play. — 8

16 Tatafu Polata-Nau: Didn’t have many set piece requirements, but was a powerful unit ball-in-hand. — 6

17 Benn Robinson: Went close to man of the match. Sure the scrum was a lot better off with him there, but he was back to his dangerous best around the base of the ruck. Good to have you back, Fat Cat. — 8

18 Mark Chisholm: Wasn’t called on to do too muc,h coming on late in a game in which the backs had started to dominate. — 5

19 Scott Higginbotham: Had a decent run, just under 20 minutes, but we didn’t see enough of him. Won’t get too many Test match chances better suited to his style of play. — 5

20 Luke Burgess: Did all he had to do in his very limited game time — gave the ball to his outside men. Passing has improved. — 5

21 Matt Giteau: Kept the opposition on their toes. Mr Crab returned for one sideways run, but you could see the glimpse of a gap there. Being overshadowed by his younger team mates, although there was a great interchange with Quade, and then a magical pass in the lead up to the last try of the game.  — 6

22 Lachlan Turner: At least he played a hand in a couple of tries. Would’ve loved the open spaces of the entire second half, particularly compared to what he had to deal with last week versus Italy. — 6

And with that the tour draws to a close. In coming weeks we’ll stage the Annual Green and Gold Rugby Wallaby Player of the Year Awards. Last year it was George Smith who took the ultimate award. Who shall it be in 2010? Stay tuned….

A reminder as to our Ratings scale.

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

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