England player ratings: Freeman a star in the making as Chessum took fight to France

Tommy Freeman v France
Freeman looks like he will be a mainstay of the next World Cup cycle - GETTY IMAGES/Dan Mullan

England’s see-saw defeat to France was arguably their most fluent attacking performance of the Six Nations and Steve Borthwick’s team finish the tournament third behind Ireland and France.

Here’s how our experts assessed the performance of the players on both sides. Scroll down or click here to leave your own verdict in the comments.

England player ratings

15. George Furbank

Departed inside the first ten minutes with a calf injury without having an opportunity to influence proceedings. N/A 

14. Tommy Freeman

When he gets the ball, good things happen. Has grown through the tournament and thoroughly deserved his try. A star in the making. 8/10

13. Henry Slade

Some of his passing was sumptuous and partnership with Lawrence is developing. Still feels like the sacrificial lamb in the defensive system. 6/10

12. Ollie Lawrence

This is what life after Manu looks like. Two tries and always packed a punch as a carrier. Not blemish-free and coughed up a couple of turnovers. 8/10

11. Elliot Daly

Will not make the highlight reel but still played an important role as a ball-chaser and made some very clever reads in defence. Unfortunate slip for Fickou’s try. 6/10

10. George Ford

Bang on the money with his kicking after last week’s struggles from the tee. The fly half debate will rumble on for another few months. 7/10

9. Alex Mitchell

Was the least popular man in Lyon for his repeated box kicks. Lifted the tempo after halftime and excellent rip at a French maul. 7/10

1. Ellis Genge

Forced Atonio to bellyflop frequently at the scrum and also put in a couple of big shots on his opposite number Baille. Great hands to release Earl. 7/10

2. Jamie George

Far quieter than last week. The lineout was under strain and the English maul made nowhere near as much ground as the French one. 6/10

3. Dan Cole

Locked down his side of the scrum against Baille. Touched the ball just once, but got through a mountain of work off it. 6/10

4. Maro Itoje

Put on his backside by Meafou, symbolising England’s early struggles. Grew into the game and was a menace at the breakdown, attacking every ruck. 6/10

5. George Martin

Inducted Flament and Marchand into his personal hall of pain with some monstrous tackles. A foundational piece of the England pack going forward. 7/10

6. Ollie Chessum

Took the fight to the French pack more than any English forward. Incredible workrate and is coming on nicely as a ball-carrier. 8/10

Ollie Chessum tackling
Chessum is developing as a tackling and carrying force - AFP/JEFF PACHOUD

7. Sam Underhill

In his element in a largely rearguard performance, made two crucial tackles on Alldritt in either half. Did slip off a couple of tackles. 6/10

8. Ben Earl

After a quiet first half burst into action after half-time, playing a leading role in both second-half tries. An outstanding tournament. 7/10

Replacements: Theo Dan (for George 50), 6, Joe Marler (for Genge 50), 6, Will Stuart (for Cole, 50) 6, Ethan Roots (for Chessum 55), 6, Alex Dombrandt (for Underhill, 67) 6, Danny Care (for Mitchell, 70) 6, Marcus Smith (for Furbank 7) 5, Manu Tuialgi (for Slade 60) 6

France player ratings

15. Leo Barré

Surged through to set up Le Garrec and scored himself. Occasionally edgy in the kicking exchanges. Improve there and he can be phenomenal. 8/10

14. Damian Penaud

Has endured a difficult Championship full of fumbles and continued that trend in the first half. Try-scoring offload to Fickou redeemed him. 6/10

13. Gaël Fickou

A mixed game from the veteran, who will have been frustrated with the miss on Lawrence. Popped up with a score to retake the lead. 6/10

12. Nicolas Depoortère

Stretched his legs early out wide but had his defensive decision-making examined by England’s attack. A promising talent. 6/10

11. Louis Bielle-Biarrey

A real livewire when he can involve himself. Caught flat-footed and narrow defensively prior to second England try. 6/10 

10. Thomas Ramos

His accuracy from the tee was off-set by three poor kicks and porous defence. Did step up from 50m for the match-winner. 6/10

9. Nolann le Garrec

Already an exciting opportunistic runner, both in support of colleagues and around the fringes. Kicking will become more consistent. 7/10

1. Cyril Baille

Rocked Sam Underhill with his first carry and punched holes. Also part of a muscular mauling effort, though the scrum could not. 6/10

2. Julien Marchand

Now reinstated as a starter and swooped over Smith for a turnover. Ended his shift with a lost line-out. 6/10

3. Uini Atonio

Penalised at the scrum for England’s first points. Lasted longer than other front-rowers and carried with typical gusto. 6/10

4. Thibaud Flament

Rescued France with an interception on the retreat and was a reliable line-out jumper among the bigger men. 6/10

5. Emmanuel Meafou

Stole possession after France tore into England’s first maul. Held firm at restarts and bumped off Itoje. 6/10

6. François Cros

Nabbed the line-out that led to Le Garrec’s try, which sums up this understated and resourceful operator. Grafted all evening. 8/10

7. Charles Ollivon

A fine athlete, whether jumping in the line-out or loping around the pitch. Calm offload for Barré’s try. 7/10

8. Grégory Alldritt

Tagged by Underhill at the base of a five-metre scrum and generally well marshalled as a carrying threat. A pest in defence. 6/10

Replacements: Peato Mauvaka (on for Marchand, 48), Sébastien Taofifénua (on for Baille, 48) Georges-Henri Colombe (on for Atonio, 62) Romain Taofifénua (on for Meafou, 48), Alexandre Roumat (on for Ollivon, 61), Paul Boudehent (on for Alldritt, 70), Maxime Lucu (on for Le Garrec, 67), Yoram Moefana (on for Depoortère, 60)

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