Wallabies player ratings: Suliasi Vunivalu bounces back in style against France

Adam Kyriacou
Wallabies wing Suliasi Vunivalu against France.

Wallabies wing Suliasi Vunivalu against France.

Following their 41-17 defeat to France at the Stade de France in Paris, here’s how we rated the Wallabies in their Rugby World Cup warm-up fixture.

Back three impress

15 Andrew Kellaway: Showed impressive vision and execution of the pass to find Mark Nawaqanitawase for the Wallabies’ first try of the game. He was his usual calming presence at the back in all areas and showed he’s a must-pick at full-back for this World Cup campaign. Such an underrated back three player. 7

14 Mark Nawaqanitawase: Finished his try with ease on the left and it was once again just the tip of the iceberg in terms of his work elsewhere during a game. Nawaqanitawase has proved a point to Eddie Jones that he’s another selection must in the upcoming tournament as he finished on 98 running metres. 8

13 Jordan Petaia: Unusually quiet from a talented player. Petaia could not impose himself on the contest as the French midfield came out on top. 4

12 Lalakai Foketi: Struggled defensively against the imposing Jonathan Danty as he lost that individual battle. Fairly absent in possession too. 4

11 Suliasi Vunivalu: After the nightmare that was Pretoria in July, this was like chalk and cheese for Vunivalu as he looked a different player in Paris. Confident, powerful and elusive with ball in hand, he enjoyed a fantastic first period. A harsh yellow card in the second half before his deserved try. 8

10 Carter Gordon: Missing all three of his shots at goal in the first half was the stuff of nightmares for Gordon as he left eight points out there. Who knows how things might have been different for the Wallabies if they had gone in 16-13 down. Emptied the tank in other departments to boost his score. 6

9 Tate McDermott: Started well in a calm display but a rather dumb penalty when he bumped the chasing Matthieu Jalibert off the ball cost his side three points. That was probably the only negative in his showing though as McDermott’s spikiness around the fringes and leadership were of a good standard. 7

8 Rob Valetini: A typically industrious performance from the number eight, whose importance to this Wallabies side grows by the game. Far from his best outing in the gold jersey but Valetini toiled away to finish with 12 carries for 48 metres gained against a more dominant France pack on the night. 7

7 Fraser McReight: Took his try very well in the second half which helped bring his metre tally up to 40 as he continues to impress in the number seven shirt. McReight was his team’s leading tackler (10) and was a good link man as every good openside flanker should be. Key to the Wallabies pool hopes. 7

6 Tom Hooper: Not as prominent as recent games as France’s ability to keep the ball alive and stress teams helped negate his defensive threat. 6

Captain Skelton

5 Will Skelton: The Wallabies skipper gave a decent account of himself against some familiar foes, combining both a solid set-piece with six carries to his name. It was a surprise to see Skelton handed the captaincy but he led the troops well, forming a solid combination with his second-row partner. 7

4 Richie Arnold: As mentioned it was an impressive and balanced combination with Skelton, with Arnold certainly catching the eye at the lineout. 7

3 Taniela Tupou: Looks back to full fitness after this workmanlike showing. Physical around field – if a touch high with a tackle early on – but he took names thereafter in contact. Perhaps most impressive, however, was his scrum showing against Jean-Baptiste Gros, as Tupou won that individual battle. 7

2 Dave Porecki: That scrum credit must be shared around and Porecki will have been happy with his first half performance more than the second, when the lineout went somewhat awry. 7

1 Angus Bell: He’s been one of the Wallabies’ best players in recent outings and he impressed again, with his set-piece work giving Uini Atonio at torrid time in the first half. Also a willing carrier, the loosehead prop incredibly finished with a team high 14 carries for his 38 metres. What a specimen. 8

Replacements: The Wallabies emptied the bench but no one really gave their side an injection, with France very much on top late in the contest. 4

READ MORE: France player ratings: Antoine Dupont and Damian Penaud star in stunning win ahead of World Cup