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Trémoulière’s journey from a small farm to the top of the world

Trémoulière’s journey from a small farm to the top of the world

Rugby and farming have gone hand in hand for generations and in the case of France Women’s full-back Jessy Trémoulière, it was agriculture that led to her choosing the oval ball over the round one.

Last November the 26-year-old became the first ever French women’s player to be named World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year. Her first Test with that title came in March, as Les Bleues beat Ireland in Round Four of the Women’s Six Nations, Trémoulière kicking six conversions in the 47-17 success.

And yet for much of her youth, Trémoulière seemed destined to play football rather than rugby.

In a report done by RMC Sport, the full-back explained that she had initially planned to pursue a career in football, but that was not possible while also starting agriculture studies.

Instead she chose to study in Brioude, not far from her family home, with rugby taking centre stage.

“I couldn’t do my agriculture studies and keep playing football so I decided to stay in Auvergne and continue in my little football club. Rugby took over and that’s where I ended up,” said Trémoulière, who also played handball, tennis, basketball and pétanque as a youngster.

Having grown up on a farm in Barlières, a small town of about 20 people, Trémoulière has kept close ties with the family farm.

Alongside her rugby, she still works there with father Serge and brother Amaury, having also taken on greater responsibilities within the family after her mum passed away when Trémoulière was just 14 years old.

Her post-rugby career is already mapped out, a return to the farm full-time to give something back to her family for the help they have provided in reaching the summits of the game.

Another person to whom Trémoulière owes a great deal is Annick Hayraud, now the team manager of France Women.

They first met when Trémoulière was just starting out at ASM Romagnat, where Hayraud was the coach, and as the full-back explains, she was not the easiest character at the time.

She said: “It was at ASM Romagnat that I met Annick Hayraud. It’s fair to say that at 18, I’d have my little tantrums and do what I wanted. She got my feet back on the ground, and if I’m where I am, it’s in part thanks to her.

“She told me that if I wanted to play an individual sport, I could go and play ping pong. It makes you think and there are those little sentences which might seem trivial but you think about them and they help you to grow.”

Between the early morning starts to milk the cows, feeding the chickens and her rugby career, Trémoulière’s schedule is a busy one.

She has also had to get used to the challenges of injury rehab, with three major injuries over the last three years.

In 2016 she suffered a leg break, followed by the fracture of a bone in her pelvis in 2017, and finally a torn knee ligament in late 2018 which kept her out of the opening rounds of the Women’s Six Nations.

In between those times, she helped France to the 2018 Grand Slam, and was named World Player of the Year at World Rugby’s awards in Monaco – something which came as quite a shock.

She said: “I was just thinking wow. It was Prince Albert who called out my name. I’m really proud and proud to push women’s rugby forwards.”

Now back on the pitch, the possibilities are endless for Trémoulière, with France’s next fixtures set to be the Super Series in California this summer where they will face New Zealand, USA, Canada and Grand Slam champions England.

From a tiny farming village in the middle of France to the heights of the world game, it’s been a remarkable journey for Trémoulière.