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France too strong for Scotland

Venue: Stade Pascal Laporte, Nantes
Referee: Claire Hodnett (England)

A powerful performance by France saw them sweep to a seven-try 42-0 win over Scotland in Nantes.

France – Ecosse féminines : Le résumé by FFR

It was clear from the opening exchanges that Scotland had mountain to climb in their opening game in this year’s Six Nations. France were soon on the attack, and even though this broke down with a handling error, the resulting Scots' scrum became more a platform for a French attack than a chance for Scotland to relieve the pressure. The scrum went backwards and within seconds it was France who were on the scoreboard with Laetitia Grand burrowing over for the try.

It was a sign of the massive pressure that the Scots pack would be put under throughout the game. With no firm platform, Scotland were rarely able to create any sort of attacking position – even when they had possession they hardly ever managed to get beyond second phase.

The French backs, on the other hand, were having a field day with the amount of ball they were given, and the made the most of it. They may have been lacking in international experience, but you would never have known. Fly-half Camille Cabalou had dream debut, hardly putting a foot wrong, and it was her kick-though, allied to Jessy Tremouliere’s speed and strength, that brought about the second try, Tremouliere just winning the race to the ball ahead of three Scots defenders.

In fact Tremouliere was having one of her best ever internationals. The full back has for so long lived in the shadow of Agricole and Ladagnous, but with the former now retired and the latter in Brazil with the sevens, the 23 year-old seized the extra responsibility with both hands. Her kicking was excellent and she was involved in at least two of Julie Billes hat-trick of tries either side of the break.

Scottish heads have dropped in similar circumstances on the past, but not today. They fought hard but there was an inevitability behind France’s regular scores, with tries coming more or less every 10 minutes. After Billes’ trio, Céline Héguy marked her return to the national team with a try on 64’ before Elodie Poublan ghosted through an exhausted Scots defence for the final try with five minutes to play.

It was not a perfect French performance by any means – the young backline probably made too many handling errors – but behind such a pack in such command it hardly mattered. Ireland next week may be a different matter.

France – Ecosse féminines : Le résumé by FFR

France : 7 tries Grand (4), Tremoulière (11), Billes (25, 34, 53), Héguy (64), Poublan (74),  2 conversions Tremoulière (5, 26), 1 penalty Tremoulière (20)

FRANCE : Tremoulière (Neissen, 61) – Delas (Boujard, 40), Poublan, Héguy, Billes  – (o) Cabalou, (m) Rivoalen (Menanteau, 71) – N’Diaye, Grand (Rayssac, 70), Diallo – De Nadaï (Ferer, 54), André – Duval (Chobet, 54), Mignot (cap) (Divoux, 61), Arricastre (Portaries, 74)
SCOTLAND: Inglis – Maxwell (Sinclair, 68), Rollie, Deans (Bain, 68), Evans – (o) Martin, (m) Law – Konkel, O'Donnell, Dunbar – Wassell, McCormack – Balmer (cap) (Smith, 73), Skeldon (Quick, 29), Lockhart (Robertson, 60)