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N’Diaye’s experience blending with France’s new breed

N’Diaye’s experience blending with France’s new breed

Inpho

It was a new-look France side that stormed to the Grand Slam in the Women’s Six Nations this year – and one of the elder stateswomen Safi N’Diaye is excited about what the future holds.

It was a new-look France side that stormed to the Grand Slam in the Women’s Six Nations this year – and one of the elder stateswomen Safi N’Diaye is excited about what the future holds.

In a squad with an average age of 24 and a half, N’Diaye’s experience in the second row has been absolutely pivotal in them putting an end to a disappointing recent run.

Click here for the final standings in the 2018 Women’s Six Nations

After third place finishes in last year’s Championship and the subsequent World Cup, France have remodelled with the 21-year-old Gaelle Hermet as captain.

Their new-look half-back pairing of Pauline Bourdon, 22, and Caroline Drouin, 21, have also been key.

And the 29-year-old N’Diaye – who started all five games of their Grand Slam in the second row – insists the blend is perfect.

“We are a young squad, with an average age of only 24 and a half,” she told Stade 2.
 


“We’ve had some great youngsters come in from the Under-20s they have arrived and settled right into the group straightaway.

“That has given us a fantastic mix, the old and experienced with the young and that has made a beautiful team.”

Victory in Wales at Colwyn Bay on the final weekend sealed the victory – the end of a great adventure according to N’Diaye.

But the key moment came in round four as France downed their old enemy England in front of a world-record crowd in Grenoble.

A last-minute Jessy Trémoulière try proved decisive and it was the support that made all the difference.

“Grenoble, that was a fantastic feeling to see that many people cheering for us and that carried us right the way through until the end of the game, and we got the try at the death – thanks in no small part to them,” she added.

“All those flags waving, it was just an amazing experience.

“Since 2014 and that World Cup on home soil, the crowds have been very special, it has grown since then and we have built a real support.”

Also in attendance on the panel show on Stade 2 was France centre Mathieu Bastareaud, the captain of the men’s team in round five.

And, as a full-time professional unlike his female counterparts, the Toulon centre was astonished by their achievement.

“I am very lucky to be able get to get up each morning and work on my passion as a full-time professional,” he said. 

“What they do is an inspiration. To take holidays for their World Cup, honestly you have to tip your cap to what the women are doing.”