The second round of the 2022 championship kicks off in Toulouse

Women’s Six Nations France v Ireland Preview

It was mixed fortunes for France and Ireland on the opening weekend of the Women’s Six Nations.

A late rally by Wales saw them beat Ireland 27-19 in Dublin while the French kicked off their campaign with a 39-6 victory over Italy. So who will come out on top in Toulouse on Saturday afternoon?

France are clear favourites, having won 16 of their 19 championship matches against Ireland, including all those played on home soil. For much of the game against Italy, they struggled to show the fluidity that they are known but they pulled clear with three tries in the last quarter. This week they will be looking for more accuracy from the off.

It’s difficult to see Ireland, who lost 56-15 to les Bleues last year, claiming a win, but as the only team in the championship who are not playing in the Rugby World Cup later this year they can afford to take a more long-term view. And with the sevens talent in their back-line, they still have the ability to break through France’s defence.

Here’s all the information you need with our Women’s Six Nations France v Ireland Preview.

What’s the big team news?

France coach Annick Hayraud has made seven changes to the starting XV that defeated Italy.

Emilie Boulard comes in at full-back with Cyrielle Banet and Melissandre Llorens the new wings. Scrum-half Laure Sansus also starts this week having made a big impact off the bench against Italy.

In the forwards, front-rowers Coco Lindelauf and Laure Touye make their first starts of the 2022 tournament. Axelle Berthoumieu comes in at flanker so Romane Menager moves to the No 8 role.

Meanwhile, Ireland have made no changes to the match-day 23 that lost to Wales in round one. Star winger Beibhinn Parsons remains on the bench, with Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Lucy Mulhall retaining their starting spots.

Sevens players like Murphy Crowe and Mulhall will also be available for the Italy fixture in round three, but it’s likely they will then switch their focus to the World Series event in Langford at the end of April so are set to miss Ireland’s final two matches against England and Scotland.

What have the coaches said?

France boss Thomas Darracq: “Our homogeneous group of 36 players allows us to make several adjustments to our team composition in order to adapt to our opponent.

“At the Stade Ernest Wallon, we will have to deal with the weather against a physically powerful Ireland team.”

Ireland coach Greg McWilliams: “They have power and pace, particularly when they play at home, they get good energy off the crowd so they are going to come at us from all angles.

“It’s important for us that we can improve on our performance from last week but also be in the game, to start trading blows is important for us. We want to be respected. The only way to get that respect is when people see you working bloody hard to get better and to fight for everyone.”

What time is kick-off and is it on TV?

The match will start at 2.15pm (UK & Ireland time, 3.15pm in France) on Saturday 2 April at the Stade Ernest-Wallon in Toulouse.

It will be available to watch on BBC Two Northern Ireland and BBC iPlayer in the UK as well as RTE in Ireland. For more information on how to watch the match from elsewhere in the world see our Women’s Six Nations live stream guide.

The referee will be Aimee Barrett-Theron and she will be assisted by Clara Munarini and Precious Pazani. Ian Tempest is the TMO (television match official).

What are the line-ups?

France: Emilie Boulard; Cyrielle Banet, Maelle Filopon, Gabrielle Vernier, Melissande Llorens; Caroline Drouin, Laure Sansus; Coco Lindelauf, Laure Touye, Clara Joyeux, Madoussou Fall, Audrey Forlani, Axelle Berthoumieu, Gaelle Hermet (captain), Romane Menager.

Replacements: Celia Domain, Annaelle Deshayes, Assia Khalfaoui, Celine Ferer, Julie Annery, Alexandra Chambon, Jessy Tremouliere, Chloe Jacquet.

Ireland: Eimear Considine; Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins, Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall; Nicole Cronin, Aoibheann Reilly; Linda Djougang, Neve Jones, Katie O’Dwyer, Nichola Fryday (captain), Sam Monaghan, Dorothy Wall, Edel McMahon, Brittany Hogan.

Replacements: Emma Hooban, Chloe Pearse, Christy Haney, Anna McGann, Hannah O’Connor, Kathryn Dane, Enya Breen, Beibhinn Parsons.

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