Wallaby Player Ratings v. France (Paris) - Green and Gold Rugby

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

  • Groucho

    Excellent ratings.

    Agree on Chisholm / Higginbotham / Burgess. All of these could have done more.

    • rugbyinmyblood

      done more to what? 59 points.

  • Thomas

    I think Beale was a 7 as he wasn’t as active as usual and his defence still worries me.
    When will Hynes get a run he had an awesome super 14 season and even when Mitchell was playing shit he still wasn’t selected.

    • Gumby

      Bollocks Thomas! Beale should have been a 9 with AAC and Rocky.

      He had a hand in everything and just like AAC ran at pace, drew the defender and set his outside back free for an unchallenged run to the line. He made one of Mitchell’s tries by creating the overlap and I think did the same for JOC when he scored his. He kicked intelligently and with accuracy and counter attacked brilliantly and his general ball handling was fantastic. The way he caught the wicked bounce from AAC’s kick then offloaded to Rocky who gifted Mitchell his third was probably impossible for any other player on the field.

      Don’t know why you would be worried about his defence, can’t remember him missing any significant tackles; he hasn’t wilted under the high ball and has probably really been the X-Factor in the backline for the latter half of the season.

      • Thomas

        Yeh I probably missed a few things as I can’t even remember one of Mitchell’s tries lack of sleep I guess. But I do remember him missing/getting smashed backwards in a tackle that was quite weak on his behalf

        • Gumby

          Fair enough Thomas. Everyone gets smashed at some point especially if you get thrown a hospital pass when you are standing still. However having said that he still laid the ball back, it was recycled and the attack continued. Couldn’t ask for more really.

        • Lindommer

          Beale’s straight running contributed to at least three tries on tour: Mitchell’s against the ABs and also against the French and the last try for JOC. And his much-improved fitness has given him a metre or two of pace. This hard, straight running is an object lesson for all outside backs, something which Giteau could do well to mimic.

        • Groucho

          I concur with all the above.

          Beale, once again, was excellent. Unlike Quade at the moment, when he’s not being freakish he’s being consistently solid and effective, and repeatedly setting up his wings for untouched tries exemplifies that. And he runs straight.

          Almost a 9 on the night.

        • nick

          thomas I agree, Mitchell is very good in attack but in my opinion he is rubbish in defence. I really believe we will be found out in defence on the wings in RWC if we keep the 2 we have now.

  • Thomas

    I wouldn’t agree that Burgess’ pass has gotten better as he just slung it out and some how made it to the player, he can’t only pass over 15 or so meters effectively.

    • westy

      Burgo’s passing is worse than my tennis serve. I havent seen another 9 in any of the top sides do more lollipops. When Newton thought an apple fell on his head from a great height, it was actually one of Bugo’s passes knocking him senseless.

      BTW seem to remember about 2 or 3 shocker kicks from Quade and one from Genia in this game. Each time they seemed to be very lucky that the ball would ricochet back into a Wallaby’s hands. Maybe a new nickname for Quade – Ricochet Rabbit.

  • Gibbo

    …its a cool nickname but why is AAC ‘The Earl’?

    • The Rant

      bloodline decendant of one i think – apparently he’s blue blood – probably got 3 middle names we don’t know about.

      Personally I like ‘2-dads’ better

  • The Rant

    Couple of little unobvious moments that are worth drawing attention:

    1. David pocock in the first try: Though not involved in the try persee – if you watch a replay of this (the overhead one is best) you can see him running and then he just stops dead to allow JOC to run his linebreaking angle – just shows such awareness, could almost be planned that way for added deception. The replay is really sweet to watch.

    2. AACs shoulder into the french number 7 near the tryline in his run that led to Benn’s try – the french 7 is smashed and doesn’t get up long after the try is awarded – hard running on good lines from our 13 – simple yet so effective.

    3. Pocock’s (might have been barnes?) sprint off the line to hit the french and force what would have been a turnover if the french didn’t have advantage which unfortunately led to their PT, but just showed abosolute commitment to getting up in their face.

    • Patrick

      Yea that hit at #2 was massive!

    • ooaahh

      it was actually a head clash… i watched it again yesterday

    • Bobas

      number 3 was Barnes, he hit their prop so hard he knocked on and an offside frenchy picked it up for a penalty to Aus.

      A touchy should have reported the french prop trying to punch berrick in the back of the head in frustration after dropping the pill.

  • jay-c

    cause his great grand daddy is an earl from england or somethin along those lines-

  • François le Frenchy

    Nice ratings.. The French would average a 1.5 !

    Too bad the international season is over for the Wallabies.. I wonder which team I’m gonna watch now ?

    Can’t wait for S15 to start !

    • redbull

      top 14?

  • bc

    You have to enjoy times like this when your team beats the foreign country you live in. When I visited a nearby tractor shop this morning the locals agreed with your assessment of AAC. He was all they could talk about.

  • Joe Mac

    I went to the game. What an experience! Full credit to this great site G&GR. ther bloggers on here helped me with accomodation and my ticket. Was at Bar Oz with ParisTah until about 2am post match yeeow.

    Although I havent watched the replay, Barnes really stood out to me as my MOM. His defence was incredible and his passing and straight running was exactly what our backline needed.

    Also, what a great change it is to watch the Wallabies play someone other than England (i live in London). The French are such good sports. I recall them all standing in ovation and clapping the Wallabies as they walked around the field congratulating the fans. The would also all stand and clap when we scored a try. Great sports, much better fans than the chav English.

    • E.

      Couldn’t agree more, I was also there and we had loads of French people coming up to us after the game and congratulating us on the win. The English would’ve given us hell, but the French are brilliant sports. Good on them.

    • Gibbo

      While i agree the French are good sports and the Poms are bad…
      i think we would be further towards the Poms in terms of bad sportsmenship.

      • Thomas

        But that’s because we have a very big rivalry with the Poms.

  • royboi

    same here bc. the french was simply saying the wallabies backline was too good, nothing we can do.

  • BRIX

    Good ratings but turn it up!

    Swap Beale’s 8 for Rocky’s 9, than minus Rocky’s amended 8 by 1 more. Ordinary except or 1 run and line out work (the – 1 is for the bombed try)


    • mark conley

      Agree with Brix re. Elsom, not as good as he was against Italy. Against Italy when he got the pill he was moving! didn’t do much from standing starts this match. Obviously need to get him riled up! for him to play at his best (in tests)

  • Robson

    Good stuff. I have no arguement with any of those calls. But I do have a question. If we can no longer consider Ben Alexander to be a tighthead prop, what side of the scrum IS he going to play on for the WBs? The other Benn looked to me to like he was finding the right chords to stroke again and then there is Slipper who can play both sides. Alexander has other skills of course, but so does Robinson and the youngster Slipper is showing up more and more in broken play too. I always thought that Andy Friend was doing Alexander no favours playing him at LH, but apparently he has also lost a few kilos. That, however, doesn’t account for his very average technique. Coupled with Sharpe’s less than average scrummaging technique behind him, it’s no wonder our scrum was in trouble early on.

    • Lindommer

      Alexander has possibly taken longer than we would’ve liked to recover from his injury this year. I, for one, don’t think we should write him off after one bad performance. We NEED him to perform well as THP to provide depth for the RWC squad. Let’s hope Friend gives him adequate time at 3 next year.

      Could someone please tell JOC to keep his socks pulled up after that performance.

      • Thomas

        “Could someone please tell JOC to keep his socks pulled up after that performance.”
        The next Gregan?

        • Henry

          More likely Latham?

    • Lance Free

      Ben A should be Robinson’s backup at loosehead. Maybe Kepu or Fuse as Slipper’s No 2? Ma’afu is still not up to it. Whatever it ends, at least there’ll be a core of front rowers with a bit of talent – but FFS, fix the scrum up!

      • redbull

        I would think find a proper TH and have Slipper as back for both.

        Justifying a props position becasue of work rate around the paddock means that other forwards are not doing their job.

        PS I changed my mind, the tour has been successful as Slipper and Simmons have had some good experience to take into next years S15

        • Homer J

          QLD will be stoked to have Simmons play with Horwill. The back up players are a bunch of old has-beens in Samo and Wallace-Harrison. Bigs units but hardly likely to strikefear in the opposition.They are so old they could almost play for the Rebels.

      • Garry

        Wouldn’t it have been an injustice if either Bens had been injured due to scrum collapses in the last week?

        Equally, what a position we could have been in if Kepu had been given some international srcum experience on this tour against quality opposition.

        Come the end of the super rugby season, there would be healthy competition for the front row positions.

        Of course the argument will be made that our first priority should be to win the game first, but looking back at the results…well, home much worse could it have been with Kepu or Douglas getting 30 minutes?

  • Langthorne

    I agree with your comments RR, but would say your ratings are a little generous. On the other hand it is the end of the season and they did put the French away in the end.

  • Pedro

    If there was no place in the scrum for Alexander, I see no reason why he couldn’t play number eight.

    Good ratings, maybe generous, but fair.

    • Groucho

      I prefer my 8 to be in the scrum.

    • James

      mobile for a prop still tends to equal not mobile enough for an 8 and he’d never been an option you’d throw to in a lineout!

    • Pedro

      Yeah ok, meant to say front row. At least he gets over the advantage line, he’s tall and heavy too. I don’t think anyone would want to lift palu in the lineout either.

  • Homer J

    Slipper will play TH for QLD so is realistically the incumbant TH for the Wallabies. Robinson is loose and Alexander plays both like Kepu. I reckon that is pretty good cover.

    Alexander won’t play TH at the Gumbies as that is Maafu’s spot unless Dan Plamer can move in.

    Also having our three front rowers at different S15 teams uis a big drawback for the combinations. Robinson will be getting the best of Foley while Moore gets Caputo and Slipper Mckenzie. Hopefully all those coaches can comunicate for the general good.

    • Robson

      Alexander at his best (2009) for the WBs was a much better TH proposition than Ma’afu at his best for the WBs in 2010.

  • tj

    agree . I live in NZ and its hard to say shit to them about improvement when our scrum gets smashed.

    • pants

      I watched the game again and the scrum did get much better with Ben Robinson off. His yellow card could really be a blessing in disguise. He’s clearly not up to test standard at scrummaging and there was a big improvement with Slipper at TH and Ben Alexander at LH. Hopefully Deans will go with that combo.

      • Bobas

        You like many others have got the ben/n’s mixed up again.

        BA got the yellow

        BR came on and he and Slipper fixed the scrum.

        • pants

          Yeah, my mistake. So long as somebody can tell them apart its all good.

  • Ruggo.

    First scrum after Higgers came on was a beauty. Unlike MaCalman at number 8, he put his head down drove hard with his legs and kept both the locks tight. Fresh legs did help but he was technically much better than MaCalman.

  • Running straight For the WIN!! French seemed to just bounce of AAC… too lovely to watch!

  • hahah Just watched the replay about 43 minutes in – ACC runs through about three French blokes and literally knocks the number 7 out, after which another Wallaby uses his head to side step off… Got to see that!

  • Darkhorse

    Can’t help but think you were a bit easy on the forward pack. As much as I believe Alexander isn’t a great scrummager, it isn’t just his fault that the pack fell apart at scrum time.

    I have to agreee with Lance in saying Alexander should be on the bench. From the get go he never looked like he had it. The dominant performances last summer in the scrum were helped by our ideal scrum personnal, e.g. palu, horwill and co.

    The backline ratings were spot-on though. Can’t help but wonder why Genia is underplaying his hand so much? Perhaps Robbie is worried they’ll work him out come RWC time.

  • matt

    actualy i think alexander will find himself in tight head for 2011 as i beleive it will be a standout season for prop jerry yanuyanutawa who will be a superstar for the wallabies hopefully down the track (2015 wc)

    albert anae will impress too for the reds

    • Lance Free

      Matt – Jerry Yanuyanutawa has just committed to Fiji, so will never be a Wallaby.

    • Hawko

      A couple of weeks ago someone on the forum reported that Jerry Y had picked up a major injury and would possibly miss the whole Super comp.

  • Misplaced Canuck

    one thing that has bothered me all tour…and now even more so aftrer watching the NZ vs Wales game. Why cant our backs clean out a ruck? If they arrive on scene first, they put a hand or two as support on another players back but then kinda just stand there like totem poles. If you watch a NZ, or SA game you will see their backs getting stuck into the rucks with shoulders and pace to clean out oppostion players allowing for good clean ball and less turnovers. Are the WB back line a bit too precious to mix it up?

    • Bobas

      I disagree, I saw plenty of wallaby backs, maybe not with big clean outs, but def securing quick ball. I don’t think we gave any ruck turnovers to france and put on plus 50 points, so how can you complain about our backs, they obviously were in the right place at the right time.

      I think this game the backs did mix it up with the forward style play, both Barnes and Gits ran crashball and presented the ball well for genia/cooper to create a 2nd phase play, something that our number 12’s haven’t done so well this year.

      • Misplaced Canuck

        Agree regarding the France game (better but still not up to par I dont think) but review the previous games on tour, and generally most WB games.

      • JTM

        Yeah, Barnes is always sticking his head in there.

        Reminds me of Matt Burke always doing it too, and all you could see were a pair of milky white legs up in the air all the time

  • Junior

    give me some alexander oh yes.

  • Hoppy35

    Rocky a 9???? Not when he arrives at tackle contest with just one opponent to take on an briefly holds on with one arm b4 retreating instead of going in hard and contesting. True he does make some good runs but in most cases he either : a) takes the tackle and gives a penalty or coughs up the ball, b) throws a hail Mary pass often to no one in particular, or c) drops the pill – and that spill over the try line is not the first this year but in at least one other there was noone on hand to tidy up. Last his effort in the scrims looks like he’s not interested or just doesn’t know what’s going on! 9????? I don’t think so.

    • mark conley

      I would’ve given Mr Elsom a 5 against France, whereas in the Italy game I gave him a 9. Seems he has to be a tad cranky before he performs well, and has to have some momentum up before he gets the pill!

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