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Preview: France Women v New Zealand Women

Preview: France Women v New Zealand Women

The Grand Slam champions will play host to the world champions on Friday night as France entertain New Zealand at the Stade Félix Mayol in Toulon.

The Grand Slam champions will play host to the world champions on Friday night as France entertain New Zealand at the Stade Félix Mayol in Toulon.

Fresh from a brilliant Women’s Six Nations in which they clinched the title ahead of England, Les Bleues will look to kick on against the Black Ferns.

In the first of two Tests – the second is in Grenoble next Saturday – France have named a strong side led by Gaëlle Hermet.

While Jessy Trémoulière and Camille Boudaud are among those absent through injury, Annick Hayraud has been able to call on the majority of the side that was so successful in the spring.

They face a New Zealand team who are also unbeaten in 2018, having beaten Australia twice and then the USA last week in Chicago.

The first meeting between the sides in eight years gives France the chance to gauge themselves against the world champions in a game that features four of the five World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year nominees.

France v New Zealand, Stade Félix Mayol, Toulon, Friday 9 November, 8pm GMT

Annick Hayraud (France team manager): “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.”

Glenn Moore (New Zealand Head Coach): “Make no mistake the French will be a real threat on Friday. Last year they had the potential to be in the final of the World Cup.  

“We are expecting them to be a formidable opponent. They have size, athleticism and really good game knowledge. We will give them every respect and will do our utmost to make everyone at home proud.”

Key Battle: Pauline Bourdon v Kendra Cocksedge

There should be some exciting match-ups all over the pitch but it’s hard to look past the battle of the scrum-halves between Pauline Bourdon and Kendra Cocksedge.

The latter is a former World Rugby Player of the Year winner, as well winning two World Cups. Bourdon only turned 23 this week and is still emerging on the international scene.

However, her half-back pairing with Caroline Drouin flourished during the Six Nations, and she will be a key to France’s ambitions of playing with pace.

Cocksedge has a new half-back partner in Krysten Cottrell, who has just three caps to her name, but the experience that Cocksedge provides should prove crucial in that match-up.
 
Stat Watch:

– This will be the fifth meeting between the two sides, with New Zealand victorious in all four previous encounters

– The last time the two teams met was at the 2010 World Cup when the Black Ferns won 45-7

– France and New Zealand met in the final of the 2018 World Cup Sevens, with four members of the French team set to feature on Friday. Stacey Waaka is the only New Zealand player who starts

– The World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year nominees are France quartet Gaëlle Hermet, Safi N’Diaye, Pauline Bourdon and Jessy Trémoulière, and New Zealand’s Fiao’o Faamausili. Only Trémouilère is absent from this game through injury.

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 Deshaye (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)
 
New Zealand: 15. Selica Winiata, 14. Renee Wickliffe, 13. Stacey Waaka, 12. Ruahei Demant, 11. Ayesha Leti-I’iga, 10. Krysten Cottrell, 9. Kendra Cocksedge, 1. Philippa Love, 2. Fiao’o Faamausili (captain), 3. Aldora Itunu, 4. Eloise Blackwell, 5. Charmaine Smith, 6. Charmaine McMenamin, 7. Les Elder, 8. Aroha Savage
Replacements: 16. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, 17. Leilani Perese, 18. Aleisha-Pearl Nelson, 19. Jackie Pateau-Fereti, 20. Linda Itunu, 21. Marcelle Parkes, 22. Kristina Sue, 23. Monica Tagoai