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The women’s XV of France begins a Six Nations Tournament in an unprecedented form, Saturday, in Vannes. Against Wales, the goal will be to regain the crown and forget the disappointment of the postponement of the World Cup, postponed to 2022.
“In view of the situation, the objective is to win the Tournament”, displays Gaëlle Hermet, captain of a XV of France determined to remove the Six Nations Tournament in a year still complicated by the coronavirus pandemic. This goal passes for a first victory on Saturday April 3 against Wales in Vannes.
Les Bleues are still having a funny season, still disrupted by the health crisis. After the postponement of the Tournament decided in January and then reviewed in a condensed format, the World in New Zealand, initially scheduled for September-October, was postponed to 2022 last month. The Tournament therefore takes even more depth in the French ambitions and this even if it was reduced to three matches instead of five and with a distribution of the teams in two groups.
Poured into Pool A, the Blue will travel to Ireland on April 17 after the reception of the Welsh, last of the previous edition. Then they may challenge the English, double title holders, in the final on April 24.
“We say to ourselves that perhaps in a year the sanitary conditions will be better, that we will have a craze around the World Cup which can only be festive and that better with why not spectators who will be in the stadiums”, explains Gaëlle Hermet, already captain during the 2018 Grand Slam and who “tries to be positive” given the situation.
The English, whom the Blue will find in their group during the world, won the last edition with the Grand Slam to the key.
The path from here to a possible “crunch” in the final this year is by no means insurmountable. The Welsh have the appearance of an appetizer for the “Affamées”, the nickname of the French. Last year, Annick Hayraud’s players swept them away in Cardiff (50-0). The Irish, third in 2020, may pose more problems for them.
The women’s XV of France will however have to do without several players who have favored the French rugby sevens team in this Olympic year, such as third row Romane Ménager. The seven players will try to win their ticket for the Tokyo Games during a qualifying tournament at the end of June.