The Bleues du rugby have shown the way for their male counterparts. A week after crushing the New Zealanders in Pau (38-13), the French again dominated (29-7) the Black Ferns on Saturday afternoon in a sold-out Pierre Fabre stadium in Castres (12,500 spectators) . An important success in the perspective of the World Cup next year where the players of Annick Hayraud will aim for the supreme title.
What you must remember
No need to debate it for hours: in rugby, physically pushing down your opponent generally guarantees you not to do too badly in a match. Still superior in conquest, the Blue imposed their law on the Black Ferns in the wake of a royal pack. The best illustration? This start of the match where the players of Annick Hayraud took advantage of a touch then a scrum to cross the line by Sochat (4th) and Castel (12th). And just before the break, the tricolors took advantage of a new touch to crack the New Zealand women, reduced to 14 in the wake for trying to collapse the maul, and being awarded a penalty try (40th + 3 ).
But all was not perfect in the first act. Blame it on some clumsiness, with this forward from Chloé Jacquet to annihilate a superb action (26th) and approximations. Another downside, this test taken on the only offensive of the Black Ferns (38th), in the wake of a great breakthrough from Portia Woodman.
This will be the last big opportunity for players from the southern hemisphere, world champions in 2017. More consistent in defense than a week ago in Béarn, the Black Ferns have limited the damage by not taking points during their numerical inferiority and have cracked only one last time, on a surge in the in-goal Marie-Aurélie Castel (56th), for a double from the winger. Serious to the end and domineering in the game, the Blue were very reassuring less than a year before the World Cup which will take them to New Zealand.
The player: Agathe Sochat, shock hooker
She had already crossed the line in Pau a week ago. The Stade Bordeaux hooker put it back in Castres, scoring her team’s first try. Dominatrix like the pack of tricolor forwards, Agathe Sochat expended without counting, as much in melee, in attack as in defensive tasks. Simply impressive.
The image: the blue penalty test
The best illustration of the physical hold of the French forwards over the Black Ferns. Game stoppage of the first period, touch five meters from the line for the Blue. The Blue want to form a maul. Burnt out by a stifling first period, the second line Maia Roos immediately throws himself to the ground to make a mistake and try to disrupt the French advance. Logical penalty try and yellow card.
FRANCE-NEW ZEALAND: 29-7
Half time: 21-7
France : four tries (Sochat 4th, Castel 12th, 56th, penalty 40th + 3); two transformations (Drouin 4th, 12th), one penalty (Drouin 73rd)
New Zealand : a test (Simon 38e), a transformation (Cocksedge 38e). Temporary expulsion of Roos (40th + 3)
France : Jacquet – Banet, Filopon, Vernier, Castel (Boulard, 69th) – (o) Drouin (Peyronnet, 74th), (m) Bourdon (Sansus, 51st) – R. Ménager (Annery, 78th), Gros (N’Diaye, 51st), Hermet (cap.) – Forlani, Ferer – Deshayes (Brosseau, 76th), Sochat (Thomas, 74th), Lindelauf (Joyeux, 41st).
New Zealand : Robins -Reti – Woodman, Haley, Joseph (Wickliffe, 69th), Fluhler – (o) Brazier (Demant, 68th), (m) Cocksedge (Bayler, 69th – Mikaele Tu’u, Simon (Bremmer, 69th), Elder ( Reynolds, 69e) (cap.) – Roos, Blackwell – Nelson (Rule, 41e), Ngata -Aerengamate (Ponsoby, 47e), Love (Itunu, 69e).