France recorded their highest ever win in a 15 – 56 rout of Ireland in the 2021 Women’s Six Nations game at Donnybrook on Saturday afternoon.
To put it into perspective, up until Frances convincing win in Ireland’s abysmal 2017 World Cup, these games were decided by the odd score. However, France have dominated the last four encounters scoring 148 points to Ireland’s 37.
There are calls to level the playing field by making Ireland semi professional, like their opponents, however, this would just be pouring good money after bad until the coaching team and the club set up is changed and real, rather than theoretical, player pathways are put in place.
Fixtures, Results and Standings
Ireland (8) 15
TRY: Cliodhna Moloney, Emma Hooban
CON: Stacey Flood
PEN: Hannah Tyrrell
France (38) 56
TRY: Caroline Boujard (2), Emilie Boulard, Penalty Try, Safi N’Diaye, Cyrielle Banet (2), Romane Menager
CON: Caroline Drouin (4), Penalty Try
PEN: Caroline Drouin (2)
Ireland started brightly and took a 3 – 0 lead after 6 minutes as Hannah Tyrrell knocked over a penalty after some confusion from the French at scrum time. France eventually shook of the cobwebs and a strong scrum saw their backline work a score out on the left for Caroline Boujard as Ireland chased shadows. Caroline Drouin converted and France led 3 – 7.
Ireland tried to play an expansive game but it was all too laboured and the French defence were able to pick them off with ease, a steal from Cyrielle Banet kicked on by Agathe Sochat for Emilie Boulard to chase down and score close to the posts. Dourin converting. Minutes, and a stupid penalty, later France were rumbling towards the Irish line for the referee to award a penalty try after Aoife McDermott pulled down the maul. McDermott went to the bin and France led 3 – 21.
The home side redoubled their efforts and some direct play led to Eimear Considine finding some space out wide and her cut back inside led to a penalty for Ireland in the France 22. A kick to the corner and a catch and drive saw Cliodhna Moloney crash over out wide to take the score to 8 – 21 halfway through the second quarter.
It was a bit of a false dawn for Ireland as France quickly picked up a penalty from Drouin and a try from Safi N’Diaye, after good work from youngster Boulard. Drouin converted to extend France’s lead to 8 – 31. France finished off the half with another steal from Banet, this time the winger ran it under the posts herself for an easy conversion for Drouin. France had cruised to a 8 – 36 half time lead without having to do much beyond the basics.
The second half started rather ominously with France destroying the Irish scrum and with Ireland’s defensive line in disarray the tries continued for the visitors as Boujard crossed for her second, this one unconverted. Ireland’s woes continued with some poor passing seeing a couple of moves break down and France took full advantage as they brought on their big guns Romane Menager and Pauline Bourdon. Some wonderful offloads saw Menager stroll home from some distance for an unconverted try as the game became little more than a squad hit out for the French as the score clicked along to 8 – 48.
Ireland lost Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe for 10 minutes, for a rather innocuous tackle, and Drouin added her second penalty before the wonderful Banet crossed, with consummate ease, for her second to take the score to 8 – 56.
There were some glimmers of hope for Ireland with Stacey Flood showing some composure, stronger passing and line kicking, which lead to Ireland’s second mauling try while down to 14 players. Replacement hooker Emma Hooban dotted down on the 74th minute with Flood converting for the final score of the game.
IRELAND: Eimear Considine, Lauren Delany, Eve Higgins, Sene Naoupu, Beibhinn Parsons, Hannah Tyrrell, Kathryn Dane, Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Linda Djougang, Aoife McDermott, Nichola Fryday, Dorothy Wall, Claire Molloy, Ciara Griffin (C). Replacements: Emma Hooban, Katie O’Dwyer, Laura Feely, Brittany Hogan, Hannah O’Connor, Emily Lane, Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe
FRANCE: Emilie Boulard, Caroline Boujard, Carla Neisen, Jade Ulutule, Cyrielle Banet, Caroline Drouin, Laure Sansus, Annaelle Deshaye, Agathe Sochat, Rose Bernadou, Madoussou Fall, Safi N’Diaye, Marjorie Mayans, Gaelle Hermet (C), Emeline Gros. Replacements: Laure Touye, Maylis Traore, Clara Joyeux, Coumba Tombe Diallo, Romane Menager, Pauline Bourdon, Morgane Peyronnet, Gabrielle Vernier
It was an impressive display from the French and they have many contenders for Player of the Game. My vote goes to winger Cyrielle Banet who dominated every one of the Irish back three throughout the game.
France go on to face England in the “play off” final for the 2021 Six Nations with Ireland getting a tilt at a rather impressive Italy who disposed of Scotland fairly easily in the Pool A third round match.