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Overhauled French women’s championship set for kick-off

Overhauled French women’s championship set for kick-off

Inpho

A new-look French championship gets underway this weekend as the Top 8 becomes the Elite 1 for the Six Nations Grand Slam champions.

A new-look French championship gets underway this weekend as the Top 8 becomes the Elite 1 for the Six Nations Grand Slam champions.

Part of the FFR’s plans to develop women’s rugby in France, the top flight has doubled in size, with the league split into two pools of eight.

The action begins on Saturday evening as Blagnac, semi-finalists a year ago, take on Stade Rennais in Pool 1, while Tarbes host Bobigny in Pool 2.
 
Champions against the Parisians
 
The action then continues on Sunday with arguably the pick of the games being the opening fixture for champions Montpellier against promoted Stade Français in Pool 1.

The Pink Rockets, as they are known, will be able to call on the experience of new recruit and experienced French international Camille Grassineau for their first game in the top flight.

However they face a Montpellier team that claimed the title a year ago and has some high-profile arrivals of its own.

The Ménager twins, Romane and Marine, come down from Lille Métropole, while former France skipper Gaëlle Mignot returns to her former club after a year in England with Richmond.
 
Around the grounds
 
Elsewhere, Toulouse open their campaign in Pool 2 looking to go one better than last year’s runner-up spot.

With France skipper Gaëlle Hermet in their ranks, the Toulousaines came within a whisker of the title before Montpellier overhauled them in the closing stages of the final.

However they will take a lot of confidence into their encounter with Stade Bordelais, with fellow internationals Camille Boudaud and Fiona Lecat alongside Hermet.

Also in Pool 2, Lille play host to AS Bayonnaise and Grenoble welcome l’Ovalie Caennaise.

Finally the other two matches in Pool 1 see ASM Romagnat head to Normandy to take on Rouen, while Lons entertain Villelonguet.

Fixtures (local time)
Saturday
18h30 – Stado Tarbes Pyrenees v AC Bobigny 93 (Pool 2)
19h30 – Blagnac Rugby Feminin v Stade Rennais (Pool 1)
Sunday
10h – Lille Metropole RC Villeneuvois v AS Bayonnaise (Pool 2)
12h – FC Grenoble Amazones v L’Ovalie Caennaise (Pool 2)
13h – AS Rouen Universite v ASM Romagnat (Pool 1)
14h – Lons Rugby Feminin Bearn Pyrenees v Stade Olympique Villelonguet (Pool 1)
15h – Montpellier RC v Stade Francais Paris (Pool 1)
15h – Stade Toulousain v Stade Bordelais (Pool 2)