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Hermet to lead France Women against world champions

Cyrielle Banet

Inpho

Grand Slam champion Gaëlle Hermet will lead France in the first of two Test matches against New Zealand in Toulon on Friday.

Hermet forms a back row with Julie Annery and Romane Ménager for Les Bleues, who won the Women’s Six Nations earlier this year.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FIXTURES FOR 2019 WOMEN’S SIX NATIONS

She is one of four French players nominated for World Rugby’s Women’s Player of the Year along with Safi N’Diaye, Pauline Bourdon and Jessy Trémoulière.

While Trémoulière is absent through injury, the other two both start with N’Diaye joining Lénaïg Corson in the second row and Bourdon combining with Caroline Drouin in the half-backs.

And team manager Annick Hayraud is excited at the prospect of France testing themselves against the world champions.

She said: “Last year we were coming out of a World Cup and there were new players in the side.

“That’s why we chose slightly weaker opposition in terms of world rankings. Now we have a more established group of players.

“We must not change our game because we are facing the world champions. We have belief in the project we are trying to put together and we have to keep working in that direction.

“We have looked at their game and seen their strengths and their weaknesses. But the most important thing is the desire to continue with our game plan based on speed and variety. We are not going to change everything because we are playing the world champions but we will keep raising our game.”

 
France team to face New Zealand
France:
15. Montserrat Amédée (Montpellier RC), 14. Cyrielle Banet (Montpellier RC), 13. Nassira Kondé (AC Bobigny 93), 12. Carla Neisen (Blagnac Rugby Féminin), 11. Caroline Boujard (Montpellier RC), 10. Caroline Drouin (Stade Rennais), 9. Pauline Bourdon (AS Bayonnaise), 1. Anaëlle Deshayes (AS Rouen Université Club), 2. Caroline Thomas (ASM Romagnat Rugby Féminin), 3. Julie Duval (L’Ovalie Caennaise), 4. Lénaïg Corson (Stade Français Paris), 5. Safi N’Diaye (Montpellier RC), 6. Gaëlle Hermet (Stade Toulousain Rugby, captain), 7. Julie Annery (AC Bobigny 93), 8. Romane Ménager (Montpellier RC)
Replacements: 16. Laure Touyé (Blagnac Rugby Féminin), 17. Lise Arricastre (Lons Rugby Féminin Béarn Pyrénées), 18. Chloé Pelle (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois), 19. Audrey Forlani (Blagnac Rugby Féminin), 20. Céline Ferer (AS Bayonnaise), 21. Yanna Rivoalen (Lille Métropole RC Villeneuvois), 22. Maëlle Filopon (Stade Toulousain Rugby), 23. Ian Jason (Stade Toulousain Rugby)