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Women’s Six Nations: Teams up for Ireland v France

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.

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.

Teams

IRELANDFRANCE
Eimear Considine15Emilie Boulard
Lauren Delany14Caroline Boujard
Eve Higgins13Carla Neisen
Sene Naoupu12Jade Ulutule
Beibhinn Parsons11Cyrielle Banet
Hannah Tyrrell10Caroline Drouin
Kathryn Dane9Laure Sansus
Lindsay Peat1Annaelle Deshaye
Cliodhna Moloney2Agathe Sochat
Linda Djougang3Rose Bernadou
Aoife McDermott4Madoussou Fall
Nichola Fryday5Safi N’Diaye
Dorothy Wall6Marjorie Mayans
Claire Molloy7Gaelle Hermet (C)
Ciara Griffin (C)8Emeline Gros
Emma Hooban16Laure Touye
Katie O’Dwyer17Maylis Traore
Laura Feely18Clara Joyeux
Brittany Hogan19Coumba Tombe Diallo
Hannah O’Connor20Romane Menager
Emily Lane21Pauline Bourdon
Stacey Flood22Morgane Peyronnet
Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe23Gabrielle 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.

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