10. Finn Russell
Leading Scotland from the front, in his adopted home of Paris. Racing 92 fly half Finn Russell had a slow start to the match, but turned proceedings around and almost secured a memorable away win. A miss-placed pass was intercepted, with Thomas Ramos wheeling away to score. Yet Russell should be admired for his ability to bounce back, and lead the fight back.
Playing in Huw Jones on a neat line to narrow the first half deficit, sent Scotland’s confidence through the roof in Paris. Russell kicked three from three conversions and also added a try of his own to keep Scottish hearts full of hope. From 19-0 down, the match came down to the wire, with Finn Russell a major player in that.
9. Ben White
Ben White continues his inspired run of form, despite the best efforts of French prop Mohamed Haouas. An unprovoked attack saw Ben White knocked to the floor, as Haouas headbutted the scrum half who was set to pass from the back of a ruck. White shook off the hit, and orchestrated the attack for Scotland’s comeback.
60 completed passes in little over an hour presented White’s involvement. The scrum half was a constant thorn in the French defenders side, as he kept them guessing with box kicks, narrow snipes, and changes of direction. A free flowing pace-setter in attack, akin to the style learned at London Irish, White was exciting once again for Scotland. Antoine Dupont is an honourable mention, yet the superstar was not up to his absolute best. White gets the nod for RUCK’s Team of the Week, as he absorbed the French threat, and courageously fought uphill to battle on.
1 . Ellis Genge
Another excellent outing from England’s vice-captain, as the fabled ‘Baby Rhino’ continues to grow in his leadership roles. Gone are the days were Genge was viewed as a one-dimensional bruiser, as the loose-head prop has added quick hands and man-management into his performances. His match highlight was the replayed hit on Leigh Halfpenny, cutting the full-back into a quarter farthing.
An exemplar shift in the scrum, Genge kept quiet and worked tirelessly to gain the advantage over his opposite man. Tomas Francis was verbally heard complaining to referee Mathieu Raynal, with the Bristol Bears partnership of Genge and Kyle Sinkler worked to disrupt the Welsh pack.
2. Julien Marchand
One of the top tacklers for France, showing an impressive work rate around the park. Marchand does not limit his involvement to that of a typical front-rower, and often plays a style similar to a loose forward. Fearless in the tackle, and able to drop his 1.81m frame to make low chops, Marchand was impressive against Scotland.
Marchand is the modern day hooker personified. Always an option to carry, but with an engine to work around the park in support, and but in the yards defensively. Former All Black Dane Coles modernised the number two jersey, and Marchand is the newest incarnation of this hybrid player.
3. Cyril Baille
Despite playing on the loosehead, Cyril Baille makes it into the Team Of The Week at number three. His performance against Scotland could not be overlooked, and he is a proven scrummager on both sides of the front row with Toulouse.
Baille continues to grow from strength to strength for France, and he was once again a leading ball carrier for ‘Les Bleus’. The 29-year-old also scrummaged much better than in the opening two matches of the 2023 Six Nations, winning the ccrucial slow balls in a fast flowing ‘jouer’ match. 41m with ball in hand over seven carries, sees Baille nearing the top of the charts for France’s forwards in attack.