The teams were announced yesterday for the 2021 Women’s Six Nations Pool B decider between Ireland and France on Saturday 17th April 2021. Kick off 14:15, live on BBC Sport and RTE. The winner will face England in the championship play off on Saturday 24th April
Ireland have announced an unchanged starting XV but they have made two changes in the bench with Blackrock’s Emma Hooban and Railway Union’s Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe coming into the squad at the expense of Malone’s Neve Jones and UL Bohemian’s Enya Breen respectively.
Ireland’s changes leaves only two players who play their club rugby outside of Dublin or England. It’s a worrying trend for the women’s club game in Ireland but we’ll review that in more detail after the competition.
Results and Standings
A strong club game allows France to make eight changes, to the team that cruised past Wales 53 – 0 a couple of weeks ago, and still bring in extra class.
The talismanic Safi N’Diaye returns in second row with Rose Bernadou coming in at tighthead prop. Marjorie Mayans starts at blindside flanker in a hugely impressive back row, the strength of which can be measured by the wonderful Romane Menager being left on the bench following her return from 7’s duty.
The French backline sees five changes as Laure Sansus and Caroline Drouin form an all-new half-back partnership, which sees FRU Favourite Pauline Bourdon drop to the bench. Jade Ulutule and Carla Neisen make up an entirely new centre pairing and Cyrielle Banet comes into the back three alongside, hat trick hero, Caroline Boujard and Emilie Boulard.
France’s Boujard and Ireland’s Beibhinn Parsons scored five tries between them against Wales and their head to head on the wing should be one to savour.
The game should also feature an intriguing battle in the back row and Ireland’s main chance of getting a result weighs heavily on the shoulders of Dorothy Wall whose physical game adds an extra dimension.
I’m looking forward to see how these two Irish youngsters perform.
|Eimear Considine||15||Emilie Boulard|
|Lauren Delany||14||Caroline Boujard|
|Eve Higgins||13||Carla Neisen|
|Sene Naoupu||12||Jade Ulutule|
|Beibhinn Parsons||11||Cyrielle Banet|
|Hannah Tyrrell||10||Caroline Drouin|
|Kathryn Dane||9||Laure Sansus|
|Lindsay Peat||1||Annaelle Deshaye|
|Cliodhna Moloney||2||Agathe Sochat|
|Linda Djougang||3||Rose Bernadou|
|Aoife McDermott||4||Madoussou Fall|
|Nichola Fryday||5||Safi N’Diaye|
|Dorothy Wall||6||Marjorie Mayans|
|Claire Molloy||7||Gaelle Hermet (C)|
|Ciara Griffin (C)||8||Emeline Gros|
|Emma Hooban||16||Laure Touye|
|Katie O’Dwyer||17||Maylis Traore|
|Laura Feely||18||Clara Joyeux|
|Brittany Hogan||19||Coumba Tombe Diallo|
|Hannah O’Connor||20||Romane Menager|
|Emily Lane||21||Pauline Bourdon|
|Stacey Flood||22||Morgane Peyronnet|
|Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe||23||Gabrielle Vernier|
The FRU Predicts: The bookies have France as clear favourites, and rightly so. However, Ireland have made some progress from their nadir of two seasons ago, when they posted a win percentage of 17%, and this game gives Ireland a chance to gauge their progress.
I expect Ireland to be competitive for most of the game but France’s exceptionally strong bench should see them pull clear at the end.