Les Bleues can't stop England's Grand Slam bid – or their rolling maul
France Women’s Six Nations Squad 2022
France’s dreams of replicating the Grand Slam feats of the 2002 players who were celebrated before the match were shattered as they lost 24-12 to England in their final Women’s Six Nations match of this campaign.
The hosts started well in Bayonne, Romane Menager bursting over the line in the opening exchanges to give France a 7-0 lead, but they could not stop England’s rolling maul and conceded three tries from that facet of the game to trail 21-7 at the break.
They won the second half 5-3, Annaelle Deshaye scoring their second try from close range, but they lacked the accuracy to convert their dominance into points for much of the game.
They gave England a stern test but will rue their own errors as they suffered a tenth straight defeat by the Red Roses.
France team to face England – Saturday 30 April
Chloe Jacquet; Caroline Boujard, Maelle Filopon, Gabrielle Vernier, Marine Menager; Caroline Drouin, Laure Sansus; Annaelle Deshaye, Agathe Sochat, Clara Joyeux, Madoussou Fall, Audrey Forlani, Celine Ferer, Gaelle Hermet, Romane Menager.
Replacements: Laure Touye, Coco Lindelauf, Yllana Brosseau, Julie Annery, Emeline Gros, Alexandra Chambon, Jessy Tremouliere, Emilie Boulard.
Wales 5-33 France
France saw off a spirited Wales team to keep their Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam bid on track with a 33-5 victory in Cardiff on Friday night.
They dominated the opening exchanges and it was, of course, Laure Sansus who broke through the resolute Welsh defence. The scrum-half cut back inside to find a hole and scored the first try in the ninth minute.
Caroline Boujard added a second midway through the first half, plucking a Jessy Tremouliere kick out of the air ahead of Jasmine Joyce and getting the ball down.
A couple of Wales errors allowed France to wrap up the bonus point within half an hour. First Keira Bevan’s quick tap penalty was taken by Chloe Jacquet and, after a neat exchange with Sansus, the French full-back burst clear to score from the counter-attack.
Sansus scored the fourth try, showing quick reactions to pick up the ball when it popped out of a Wales scrum five metres out, spinning out of Bevan’s tackle and touching down.
Much like their previous match against Scotland, the second half wasn’t so one-sided and France were limited to just one try, Tremouliere gliding easily over in the 55th minute.
Their defence held out Wales until the final play of the game but they will be looking to cut out the handling errors ahead of next week’s match against England.
France team to face Wales – Friday 22 April
Chloe Jacquet; Caroline Boujard, Maelle Filopon, Gabrielle Vernier, Marine Menager; Jessy Tremouliere, Laure Sansus; Annaelle Deshaye, Agathe Sochat, Clara Joyeux, Celine Ferer, Madoussou Fall, Julie Annery, Gaelle Hermet, Romane Menager.
Replacements: Laure Touye, Coco Lindelauf, Assia Khalfaoui, Audrey Forlani, Emeline Gros, Alexandra Chambon, Morgane Peyronnet, Emilie Boulard.
Scotland 8-28 France
France made it three bonus-point wins from three in this year’s Women’s Six Nations by beating Scotland 28-8 at Scotstoun – but they were not at their best.
Laure Sansus opened the scoring in the ninth minute with a try she created and scored.
Jessy Tremouliere added a second before the half-hour mark, a show-and-go creating a hole for her to go through from close range.
Then two tries in the final five minutes of the first half wrapped up the bonus point. First, Sansus crossed after Gaelle Hermet charged down a clearance kick and the ball fell for the scrum-half. Then, Hermet went over after some slick offloading amongst the forwards.
Yet in the second half they didn’t score a single point, their ill-discipline proving costly. They conceded more than twice as many penalties as Scotland and the hosts dominated possession, crossing for a try in the 69th minute.
Still, their title bid remains on track as they head to Cardiff to face Wales in round four.
France team to play Scotland – Sunday 10 April
Emilie Boulard; Marie-Aurelie Castel, Marine Menager, Chloe Jacquet, Melissande Llorens; Jessy Tremouliere, Laure Sansus; Annaelle Deshaye, Laure Touye, Assia Khalfaoui, Celine Ferer, Madoussou Fall, Julie Annery, Gaelle Hermet (captain), Emeline Gros.
Replacements: Celia Domain, Coco Lindelauf, Clara Joyeux, Safi N’Diaye, Romane Menager, Alexandra Chambon, Morgane Peyronnet, Gabrielle Vernier.
France 40-5 Ireland
The scrum-half scored two tries as les Bleues made it two bonus-point wins from two at the start of the championship.
Both her tries came from the back of a scrum as the French set-piece proved a major weapon against Ireland. The first came midway through the first half as she attacked the blindside and the second, in the 48th minute, wrapped up the bonus point as she was able to dummy over from close range.
France’s other tries came from teenage winger Melissande Llorens, prop Clara Joyeux and full-back Emilie Boulard, who finished the game in the sin-bin after a high tackle.
Next stop for France is Scotstoun where they face Scotland on Sunday week.
France team to play Ireland – Saturday 2 April
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: Célia Domain, Annaelle Deshayes, Assia Khalfaoui, Céline Ferer, Julie Annery, Alexandra Chambon, Jessy Tremouliere, Chloe Jacquet.
France 39-6 Italy
France kicked off their Women’s Six Nations campaign with a 39-6 victory over Italy in Grenoble, but it was far from a complete performance from the hosts.
Italy actually showed more endeavour in attack, albeit without ever getting over the whitewash, as handling errors and turnovers prevented France from showing the fluidity that we have come to expect from them. Still, three tries in the last quarter ensured they secured the all-important try bonus point – and their defence stood firm.
Lock Madoussou Fall, later named Player of the Match, scored the opening try midway through the first half and No 8 Emeline Gros added a second shortly after when she burst over under the posts after a clever show-and-go.
In the second half, France’s struggles to click continued but the arrival of Laure Sansus at scrum-half after 50 minutes did make a difference. Her quick tap and break set up a try for Lea Murie around the hour, and she brought more tempo to France’s game.
They still had to wait until the 76th minute to get the bonus-point try, Emilie Boulard striding over, before a Sansus offload set up Chloe Jacquet for the fifth try late on.
It’s job done for France but there’s much to improve on as they will face sterner tests later in the championship.
France team to play Italy – Sunday 27 March
Chloe Jacquet; Lea Murie, Maelle Filopon, Gabrielle Vernier, Marie Aurelie Castel; Caroline Drouin, Alexandra Chambon; Annaelle Deshayes, Agathe Sochat, Clara Joyeux, Madoussou Fall, Audrey Forlani, Romane Menager, Gaelle Hermet (captain), Emeline Gros.
Replacements: Laure Touye, Coco Lindelauf, Assia Khalfaoui, Manae Feleu, Axelle Berthoumieu, Laure Sansus, Jessy Tremouliere, Emilie Boulard.
France Women’s Six Nations Squad 2022
Annick Hayraud has named a 35-player squad for the upcoming Women’s Six Nations and there are a few notable absentees.
Safi N’Diaye, Caroline Boujard and Pauline Bourdon are all injured so have not been included, although they could be fit to play in the latter stages of the tournament.
The French, who have been labelled favourites by England head coach Simon Middleton, do have some familiar faces in the squad. In the backs, Jessy Tremouliere, Laure Sansus and Gabrielle Vernier are once again named.
In the forwards, captain Gaelle Hermet, Assia Khalfaoui and Annaelle Deshayes will lead from the front.
France will be bidding to win their first Six Nations title since 2018, with England beating them in the final last year. Head coach Hayraud said: “This selection of 35 players will prepare and play the first three matches of this 2022 tournament.”
France Women’s Six Nations Squad 2022
Cyrielle Banet (29 Aug 1994/Montpellier/Wing/22)
Camille Boudard (Toulouse/Centre)
Emilie Boulard (Chilly Mazarin/Full-back/10)
Yllana Brosseau (9 May 2000/Stade Bordelais/Centre)
Marie Aurélie Castel (15 Jul 2000/Stade Rennais/Fly-half)
Alexandra Chambon (2 Aug 2000/Grenoble Amazones/Scrum-half/5)
Caroline Drouin (7 Jul 1996/Stade Rennais/Fly-half/23)
Maelle Filopon (27 May 1997/Toulouse/Wing/14)
Melissande Llorens (Blagnac/Centre/2)
Marine Menager (26 Jul 1996/Montpellier/Wing)
Lea Murie (21 May 1998/Toulouse/Wing)
Morgane Peyronnet (6 Jul 1992/Montpellier/Centre)
Laure Sansus (21 Jun 1994/Toulouse/Scrum-half/27)
Jessy Tremouliere (29 Jul 1992/Romagnat/Full-back/69)
Gabrielle Vernier (2 Jun 1997/Blagnac/Centre/24)
Julie Annery (12 Jun 1995/Stade Français/Back-row/24)
Rose Bernadou (3 Mar 2000/Montpellier/Prop)
Axelle Berthoumieu (9 Jul 2000/Blagnac/Flanker/8)
Annaelle Deshayes (16 Mar 1996/Lyon/Prop/31)
Coumba Diallo (27 Sep 1990/Stade Français/Back-row)
Célia Domain (24 Apr 2000/Blagnac/Prop/2)
Charlotte Escudero (Blagnac/Back-row)
Madoussou Fall (17 Mar 1998/Stade Bordelais/Lock/15)
Manae Feleu (Grenoble/Lock)
Audrey Forlani (19 November 1991/Toulouse/Lock/55)
Emeline Gros (19 Aug 1995/Montpellier/Back-row)
Gaelle Hermet (12 Jun 1996/Toulouse/Back-row/43)
Clara Joyeux (10 Jan 1998/Blagnac/Prop/28)
Assia Khalfaoui (24 Mar 2001/Stade Bordelais/Prop/4)
Coco Lindelauf (17 Jan 2001/Blagnac/Prop/7)
Marjorie Mayans (17 Nov 1990/Blagnac/Back-row)
Romane Menager (26 Jul 1996/Montpellier/No.8/47)
Agathe Sochat (21 May 1995/Montpellier/Hooker)
Caroline Thomas (26 Sep 1991/Romagnat/Hooker)
Laure Touye (12 May 1996/Montpellier/Hooker/19)
France Women’s Six Nations Fixtures 2022
(All kick-off times are UK & Ireland time)
Sun 27 Mar, France 39-6 Italy
Sat 2 Apr, France 40-5 Ireland
Sun 10 Apr, Scotland 8-28 France
Fri 22 Apr, Wales 5-33 France
Sat 30 Apr, France 12-24 England
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.