The “crunches” follow and look alike for the French women’s rugby team. For the twelfth time in a row, the French were beaten by the England team on Saturday April 29 at Twickenham Stadium. And while they had resisted well throughout their last confrontation, in the group stages of the 2022 World Cup (lost 13 to 7), the Blues were this time far from the mark, before picking up the score in second half, finally losing 38 to 33. This success allows the Red Roses to make the grand slam, a habit for them since 2018.
Coming to London after four successes in as many matches in the competition, the players of the Gaëlle Mignot-David Ortiz duo could nevertheless also dream of an immaculate Tournament. Especially since after a first complicated victory in Italy (22-12), the French had raised their tone week after week, until their controlled success against the Welsh (39-14) at the end of April. “I don’t have a past with the English, so I’m going there to enjoy this moment above all”underlined the winger Mélissande Llorens (20 years old, 9 caps), symbol of a rejuvenated and uninhibited XV of France.
A state of mind that Les Bleues retained from the start of the match on Saturday. Well helped by English women guilty of unusual inaccuracies – and probably tense by a Twickenham stadium with 58,498 supporters, a record for a women’s rugby match – the XV of France spent the first fifteen minutes in the opposing camp to chain passing and playing time near the goal line.
You don’t stop @AlexMatthews03 from that range 💪 #ENGFRA #SuperSaturday⚡️ https://t.co/njEsxvbgNG
Problem: Audrey Forlani’s teammates failed to score, and were going to pay a high price for their lack of efficiency. Because facing them, the English machine finally started to scatter the French defense in the first act. Abby Dow (17)e), Captain Marlie Packer (25e) and Alex Matthews (32e) first took charge of making a first difference in score, power and speed.
Frustrating end clap for Jessy Trémoulière
By a penalty try (32e) and a new production by Zoe Aldcroft (40e), the English even flew to the score just before half-time (33-0), under the helpless gaze of Jessy Trémoulière. Sanctioned with a yellow card (32e) for a voluntary forward, the best player in the world 2018 witnessed the acceleration of the Red Roses from the bench, and put an end to her international career, at 30, with a frustrating defeat and without managing to add a third Six Nations Tournament on his record.
The opener had however warned at a press conference during the week. ” It will be played on small details, a breakthrough, take points when we are at home… ” Unfortunately for them, the Blues waited for the 49e minute to finally find the fault in the English defense by Emilie Boulard. And despite four new attempts by Gabrielle Vernier (56e), Charlotte Escudero (66e), Emeline Gros (76th) and Cyrielle Banet (80e), the delay was too great for the mad comeback of the Bleues to turn into a reversal of the situation.
“We are frustrated in the first half, and we really wanted to show our true colors in the second, declared the captain of the Bleues, Audrey Forlani, at the microphone of France 2, at the end of the meeting. It’s really the state of mind that we want to retain. We are having a great tournament, and we are halfway through a great victory [les Françaises finissent finalement deuxièmes]. Now we will continue to work. »
A 2nd half full of character from @FranceRugby 💪 #TikTokW6N #SuperSaturday⚡️ #ENGFRA https://t.co/xtspBdenVW
The tricolors now have two years to continue to prepare before the next World Cup, in 2025, on English soil. In November, in New Zealand, the French were adorned with bronze while the English were beaten by the locals in the final.