beaten by New Zealand at the end of the suspense, the Blue fail at the gates of the final

With a kick, the Blue held their feat. The women’s XV of France was beaten on Saturday, November 5, by New Zealand, in the semi-finals of the World Cup (25-24). A cruel defeat, the opener Caroline Drouin having missed the victory penalty a few seconds from the end of the meeting. And which especially deprives France once again of a world final, it which had already been beaten seven times in the semi-finals out of the first eight editions of the World Cup.

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“It’s a game at stake, the score attests to the ferocity of the match, explained captain Gaëlle Hermet after the meeting with TF1. We are disappointed because we would have liked to go for this final, to write our history. We showed a huge heart throughout the competition, and we proved it again today. »

A perfect start

Not impressed by the challenge, the French had nevertheless done everything to cool an audience of Eden Park in Auckland completely committed to the cause of the Black Ferns (black ferns). After opening the scoring with the foot of Caroline Drouin (6e), it was in force that Les Bleues scored the first try of the match. At the foot of the posts, Romane Ménager (23e) resisted the tackle of three New Zealanders to go flatten, a try converted by Caroline Drouin (10-0).

Above all, coach Thomas Darracq’s players did what they know how to do best in this first period: tackle, and tackle again. Best defense of the competition, the France team resisted the black waves breaking in its camp (194 tackles throughout the meeting). Twice in this first act, the New Zealanders managed to cross the in-goal line of Les Bleues, but without succeeding in flattening the ball, each time caught in the French pincers.

But if the Blues had shown themselves in defense throughout the competition, it was with the ball in hand that their opponents had built their victories in this World Cup, scoring 209 points in four games. The Welsh can testify to this, they who were corrected by the Black Ferns in the quarter-finals (55-3). And by dint of attacking, the New Zealanders ended up breaking the defensive curtain of the Blues thanks to the center Stacey Fluhler (34e10-10).

A score of parity which seemed almost logical in view of the first half, but which did not suit the Blues. Incredible efficiency, they scored again just before half-time, in a test in the form of an almost perfect copy of the first. In the role of Romane Ménager, this time it was Gabrielle Vernier who flattened in force (40e17-10).

“You have to both play and master the tempo. We have time, we are in place defensively. You have to keep a cool head so as not to overplay and stay in the game,” confided Thomas Darracq at halftime at the microphone of TF1. Back on the sidelines, the coach had to taste very little at the start of his team’s second act. Faced with New Zealanders determined to set the pace and play all the penalties quickly, the French eventually cracked, guilty of two fatal errors.

A kick away

First it was Emilie Boulard who couldn’t control a ball near her in-goal, giving a try to Ruby Tui (44e), then Theresa Fitzpatrick scored (60e) a few seconds after a foul for obstruction of the Blue. If Romane Ménager managed to maintain hope by scoring a double (65e), the case seemed almost settled when the French third row Safi N’Diaye received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle (69e).

But the gap was then only one point, and despite its status as the second nation in the world, New Zealand began to thwart, like a kick hit directly into touch by Krystal Murray… yet pillar! A few seconds later, that of opener Caroline Drouin took on an even greater importance, she who was about to hit the winning penalty. Unfortunately his ball left the posts, taking with him the hopes of a first world final for the Blues.

The competition is not over for the French, however, who will challenge Canada on Saturday 12 November – defeats 26-19 by the English in the other semi-final – during the match for third place. The New Zealanders will find the Red Roses for the revenge of the last final, won in 2017 by the Black Ferns.


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