Once again, the equation proved insoluble for the women’s French XV, but the gap is closing. Facing huge World Cup favourites, the Blues were unable, on Saturday 15 October, to interrupt England’s relentless string of successes. Winners in their twenty-seventh consecutive match (7-13) –increasing their record, both for women and men–, the Red Roses beat the French in the second match of the World Cup in New Zealand. Having earned the defensive bonus point, the Blues need not be ashamed of their performance.
“Today, defensively, we played the perfect game. And we make them doubtwelcomed captain Gaëlle Hermet after the match, at the TF1 microphone, despite the loss. “I am proud of this group, we showed [aux Anglaises] that we were present. It was not the most important game of the competition, and we give them an appointment for the rest. »
After only twelve minutes of play, the French had to do without Laure Sansus, their scrum-half. With a knee injury, the best player in the last Six Nations Tournament, which is contesting her last international competition, has given way to Pauline Bourdon. And the physical impact of the rude English did not stop. In a defensive entry, the third row Romane Ménager received a K.-O. her and in turn she was forced to leave her place.
Faced with a team sure of their strength -to the point of not attempting penalties at the start of the game-, the French applied themselves defensively. “They created a bubble of trustexhibited the second line Madoussou Fall, on Friday in The team. They must tell themselves that they are the queens of the world. » And the Blues did not miss the game in terms of aggressiveness, not being able to offer themselves many opportunities in attack. Suffering white waves upon white waves, the Blues only cracked once in the first half, in a foray by captain Emily Scarratt, after undermining work by the Red Roses.
🇬🇧 FRANCE 0 – 7 ENGLAND 🏴 🏴 🏴 🏴 😢 After a long resistance, Les Bleues concede the 1st try of the match… https://t.co/FcEgOzazzT
“The last games against France ended with very tight scores, so we know it will be very, very difficult”, highlighted the same Emily Scarratt in the week. If the English have ruled the world for three years, they know that the Blues are determined to abuse their authority over world rugby. And to end their eleven game losing streak against the Red Roses, Blue’s last victory dates back to the 2018 Six Nations Tournament.
“It’s a great fight”
“It’s really great what the girls are producing, it’s a great fight.”, welcomed coach Thomas Darracq, at the break, when asked by TF1. And call his troops, led (0-10) but up to the challenge, to “break free in attack”.
With more than 70% possession, the English could have worsened the mark on many occasions, but their well-oiled mechanics got stuck on a rough blue line, like an intractable Marjorie Mayans (24 caps). Omnipresent in defence, to the point of inserting themselves under an English striker about to score a try twice, the Blues struggled to transfer their energy to attack.
But within a quarter of an hour of the siren, France’s women’s XV found fault with one of their rare attacks. On an inspiration at the foot of Caroline Drouin, Joanna Grisez recovered the ball, she slipped between two Englishmen before serving to Gaëlle Hermet for the Test. Injured at the start of the tournament, the captain of Les Bleues, entered the race after the injury of Romane Ménager, revived the French and the match (7-13, 64me).
🇫🇷 FRANCE 7 – 13 ENGLAND 🏴 🇫🇷 What a try from Gaëlle Hermet! The game restarts! 📺 Follow the meeting… https://t.co/SO4IIILGjg
Barring a converted try, Les Bleues felt the feat was within reach: the English had never lost a match in the World Cup group stage before. In a breathless end to the match, where each team wanted to avoid breaking, the English held their lead, leaving the Blues with a deserved defensive extra point.
At the end of a relentless test of strength, England took the best. One more time. “The team that manages to impose its game will win, and we both have the qualities to do it”English captain Emily Scarratt warned this week. If the “final” of this group C was for the Red Roses, the World Cup is still long. “Unfortunately, finishing very close doesn’t win games. So I hope we meet again soon to really win., concluded the tricolor coach Thomas Darracq, at the microphone of TF1. The two ambitious teams could, in fact, meet again later in the competition.
Beaten for the twelfth successive time on Saturday by their rivals from across the English Channel, France’s players have discovered that ending this long string of defeats is a realistic ambition.
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