A double from Marie-Aurélie Castel inspired France to a second consecutive victory over New Zealand with a 29-7 win in Castres.
The winger scored her first French try early in the first half, as France came flying out of the box, easing to a 14-0 lead after just 13 minutes at the Stade Pierre-Fabre.
She then scored her second and France’s fourth try midway through the second half as France followed up their 38-13 victory last week with another big win.
Les Bleues opened the scoring through hooker Agathe Sochat after just four minutes, and fly-half Caroline Drouin was at her usual best from the kicking tee, converting both Sochat and Castel’s early scores.
France kept peppering the New Zealand defence, looking for a third score, Drouin missing a rare penalty attempt after 30 minutes, and the Black Ferns then came back at them after some brave defending.
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) November 20, 2021
Kennedy Simon eventually crossing the line to reduce the French lead to just seven points, with the TMO confirming she had crossed the whitewash.
That score set the game up to be a tight affair after three weeks of blowout defeats for New Zealand.
France had dominance in the forward pack though, and that dominance was made clear when a penalty try was awarded on half-time, with a driving maul seemingly destined for the line, with Maia Roos also being sent to the sin bin for the collapse.
That penalty try was a killer blow for the Black Ferns, whilst France were buoyed by it, coming out in the second half with an extra spring in their steps, with the dominance continuing for the rest of the second half.
There were notable performances from the likes of Portia Woodman and the powerful try-scorer Simon, but France’s dominance was confirmed when Castel crossed in the corner for her second try of the afternoon.
By the time Drouin converted a penalty to put France more than three scores clear with eight minutes to go, the result was beyond doubt, much to the delight of the passionate French crowd in Castres.