Gaelle Hermet's side fall to England in the Women's Six Nations final

France Women’s Six Nations Squad 2021

France fell short in their bid to win a first Women’s Six Nations title since 2018, losing 10-6 to England at the Stoop.

It was a close contest with both teams’ defences able to close down the other’s attack for the most part. Caroline Drouin slotted two penalties for France but Poppy Cleall’s try at the end of the first half proved critical.

The French have now lost eight matches in a row to England and will be looking to end that run of defeats in the ‘exhibition match’ between the two sides in France on Friday night.

France team to face England – Saturday 24 April

Emilie Boulard; Cyrielle Banet, Carla Neisen, Jade Ulutule, Caroline Boujard; Caroline Drouin, Laure Sansus; Annaelle Deshaye, Agathe Sochat, Rose Bernadou, Madoussou Fall, Safi N’Diaye, Marjorie Mayans, Gaelle Hermet, Romane Menager.

Replacements: Laure Touye, Mailys Dhia Traore, Clara Joyeux, Lenaig Corson, Coumba Diallo, Pauline Bourdon, Morgane Peyronnet, Jessy Tremouliere.

Ireland 15-56 France

France will face England in the Women’s Six Nations final after overpowering Ireland 56-15 to top Pool B.

The French recovered from a nervy opening in Dublin to score five first-half tries and three in the second period, demonstrating great variety in the process. Using the physicality of their forwards and the pace of their backs, they found different ways over the white line.

Caroline Boujard – scorer of a hat-trick in France’s win over Wales – got the opening try with slick hands along the back-line from a scrum and then Emilie Boulard showed brilliant speed to chase a Laure Sansus kick. The full-back, who was winning only her second cap, left Ireland’s defenders trailing as she kicked ahead again herself and then touched the ball down.

Next came the show of power as France were awarded a penalty try following the collapse to driving maul and then Safi N’Diaye barged over from close range. Cyrielle Banet wrapped up the first-half quintet when ripping the ball from Eimear Considine and bursting clear.

Boujard added another try early in the second half before Romane Menager’s in-and-out line outfoxed the Irish defence and Banet was put away down the blind side by Pauline Bourdon.

The French were ruthless in capitalising on Ireland’s error and penalty counts, the tempo of their play ensuring the hosts stayed on the back foot, while their defence kept the green shirts at bay, too, with Marjorie Mayans a particular standout in that area.

Now Gaelle Hermet’s team head to the Stoop next Saturday afternoon aiming to lift the Six Nations trophy. To do that they will need to beat an England side who are on a seven-match winning streak against France. It should be a cracking final.

France team to face Ireland – Saturday 17 April

Emilie Boulard; Caroline Boujard, Carla Neisen, Jade Ulutule, Cyrielle Banet; Caroline Drouin, Laure Sansus; Annaelle Deshaye, Agathe Sochat, Rose Bernadou, Madoussou Fall, Safi N’Diaye, Marjorie Mayans, Gaelle Hermet, Emeline Gros.

Replacements: Laure Touye, Mailys Dhia Traore, Clara Joyeux, Coumba Diallo, Romane Menager, Pauline Bourdon, Morgane Peyronnet, Gabrielle Vernier.

France 53-0 Wales

Caroline Boujard’s hat-trick helped France to a 53-0 victory over Wales in their opening match of the 2021 Women’s Six Nations in Vannes.

The winger scored three tries in the first 15 minutes as France built a 21-0 lead. The hosts then secured the try bonus point in the 35th minute when Agathe Sochat touched down from the back of a maul and they led 31-0 at the break.

The French attack wasn’t given quite as much freedom by Wales in the second half but they still scored four tries. Two came from No 8 Emeline Gros, debutant full-back Emilie Boulard touched down in the corner in the closing minutes and replacement hooker Laure Touye crossed from a driving maul with the clock in the red.

Yet what was most impressive about this French performance was not any of the eight tries they scored but the resoluteness of their defence. Wales had plenty of possession (46%) but were continually driven back behind the gain-line by the ferociousness of the French line speed and were unable to get close to scoring a try.

After losing to England twice and drawing with Scotland in the autumn, France will likely be most pleased by the clean sheet as they head into their bye week.

France team to face Wales – Saturday 3 April

Emilie Boulard; Caroline Boujard, Maelle Filopon, Gabrielle Vernier, Marine Menager; Morgane Peyronnet, Pauline Bourdon; Annaelle Deshaye, Agathe Sochat, Clara Joyeux, Coumba Diallo, Madoussou Fall, Celine Ferer, Gaelle Hermet, Emeline Gros.

Replacements: Laure Touye, Arkya Ait Lahbib, Mailys Dhia Traore, Safi N’Diaye, Marjorie Mayans, Laure Sansus, Camille Imart, Jessy Tremouliere.

France Women’s Six Nations Squad 2021

Annick Hayraud has named a 35-player France squad for the 2021 Women’s Six Nations.

Back-rower Gaelle Hermet continues as captain and there is plenty of experience elsewhere in the squad, including World Rugby Player of the Decade Jessy Tremouliere.

France play Wales at home and Ireland away in the pool stages – there is a condensed format this year – before a match against the team ranked in the equivalent position in Pool A, one of England, Italy or Scotland.

They will also play an exhibition match against England, who beat them twice in November, on 30 April.

France Women’s Six Nations Squad 2021

Backs

(DoB/Club/Position)

Cyrielle Banet (29 Aug 1994/Montpellier/Wing)

Caroline Boujard (6 Jan 1994/Montpellier/Wing)

Emilie Boulard (Chilly Mazarin/Full-back)

Pauline Bourdon (4 Nov 1995/Bayonne/Scrum-half)

Marie Dupouy (27 Jul 2002/Blagnac/Centre)

Maelle Filopon (27 May 1997/Toulouse/Wing)

Camille Imart (11 Jan 1995/Toulouse/Fly-half)

Marine Menager (26 Jul 1996/Montpellier/Wing)

Morgane Peyronnet (6 Jul 1992/Montpellier/Centre)

Elise Pignot (2 Dec 1995/Romagnat/Full-back)

Laure Sansus (21 Jun 1994/Toulouse/Scrum-half)

Jessy Tremouliere (29 Jul 1992/Romagnat/Full-back)

Gabrielle Vernier (2 Jun 1997/Blagnac/Centre)

Forwards

Arkya Ait Lahbib (22 Feb 1992/Montpellier/Prop)

Julie Annery (12 Jun 1995/Stade Français/Back-row)

Lise Arricastre (17 Jun 1991/Lons/Prop)

Rose Bernadou (3 Mar 2000/Montpellier/Prop)

Alexandra Chambon (2 Aug 2000/Grenoble Amazones/Lock)

Lenaig Corson (15 Mar 1989/Stade Français/Lock)

Annaelle Deshaye (16 Mar 1996/Lyon/Prop)

Coumba Diallo (27 Sep 1990/Stade Français/Back-row)

Célia Domain (24 Apr 2000/Blagnac/Prop)

Madoussou Fall (17 Mar 1998/Bobigny/Lock)

Celine Ferer (21 Jun 1991/Toulouse/Lock)

Emeline Gros (19 Aug 1995/Montpellier/Back-row)

Gaelle Hermet (12 Jun 1996/Toulouse/Back-row)

Clara Joyeux (10 Jan 1998/Blagnac/Prop)

Assia Khalfaoui (24 Mar 2001/Stade Bordelais/Prop)

Marjorie Mayans (17 Nov 1990/Blagnac/Back-row)

Safi N’Diaye (16 Jun 1988/Montpellier/Lock)

Agathe Sochat (21 May 1995/Montpellier/Hooker)

Mabinty Sylla (2 Feb 2020/Blagnac/Lock)

Caroline Thomas (26 Sep 1991/Romagnat/Hooker)

Laure Touye (12 May 1996/Montpellier/Hooker)

Mailys Dhia Traore (9 Jul 1995/Toulouse/Prop)

MORE ON THE WOMEN’S SIX NATIONS

France Women’s Six Nations Fixtures 2021

(All kick-off times are UK & Ireland time)

Round One

Sat 3 April, France 53-0 Wales

Round Three

Sat 17 April, Ireland 15-56 France

Finals

Sat 24 April, England 10-6 France

Six Nations Exhibition Match

Friday 30 April, France v England (8pm, Villeneuve d’Ascq) Live on BBC iPlayer

Don’t miss a game with this Women’s Six Nations TV coverage guide.

Can’t get to the shops? You can download the digital edition of Rugby World straight to your tablet or subscribe to the print edition to get the magazine delivered to your door.

Follow Rugby World on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.