France scored 22 points in the last 13 minutes to avoid major blushes in a 47-21 win over Japan in Albany on Saturday.
However, the overall feeling was that the French did not pitch up for this game.
With the exception of the first 20 minutes and the final 10, Les Bleus did not look like one of the tournament favourites.
Jan de Koning rates the French players!
15 Cedric Heymans:
Kicked often and ran little, but was still one of France's best backs.
14 Vincent Clerc:
Had plenty of opportunities with ball in hand and scored an easy try, but mixed that with some silly running - going backwards inside his own 22 and then threw a shocking pass.
13 Aurelien Rougerie:
Had a decent day at the office - a great off-load for Clerc's first-half try and some strong runs.
12 Fabrice Estebanez:
Mixed bag, like most of the French. Showed his ability to break the line and kept the Japanese defence honest.
11 Maxime Médard:
Like most of the French team he looked very threatening at times, including a great off-load. But he also had his quiet moments.
10 Francois Trinh-Duc:
Scored a crucial intercept try when Japan was pressing early in the first half, and showed some good tactical appreciation.
9 Dimitri Yachvili:
He was the most valuable and consistent of the French backs, with some neat breaks from the base. However, on at least one occasion he tried to get too clever with a no-look inside pass.
8 Raphael Lakafia:
Had some really good carries, including a couple of neat off-loads and a try-assist.
7 Imanol Harinordoquy:
He was, as always, big and strong, but drifted in and out of the game.
6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain):
Not the best game the captain has played for his country. His hands also let him down in the first half.
5 Lionel Nallet:
Was quiet for most of the match, but involved in that late blitz that saved his team's blushes.
4 Julien Pierre:
Had a few carries, without making much of an impact and also disappeared at times in the game.
3 Nicolas Mas:
Strong in the set pieces, but struggled with his hands when carrying the ball.
2 William Servat:
Some really good carries by the veteran hooker, who also worked hard at the breakdown.
1 Fabien Barcella:
Put some good pressure on in the scrums, but poor hands in open play let him down.
16 Dimitri Szarzewski (on for William Servat, 51st min):
Brought some energy to the game, but should have made a bigger impact.
17 Jean-Baptiste Poux (on for Fabien Barcella, 52nd min):
Also solid in the scrums, but was on when Japan were on a roll.
18 Julien Bonnaire (on for Raphael Lakafia, 74th min):
Not enough time to be rated.
19 Pascal Papé (on for Julien Pierre, 73rd min):
Scored a try, but not enough time to be rated.
20 Morgan Parra (on for David Skrela, 62nd min):
Helped spark that late rally with a nice break. Did what was expected of him.
21 David Skrela (on for Francois Trinh-Duc, 51st min):
Let his team down with some shocking hands.
22 David Marty (on for Fabrice Estebanez, 46th min):
Not impact at all.
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