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France roll on in front of huge crowd

In front of a crowd of over 11,000 in Toulouse, France were far too good again to secure a second win.

France took an early lead and went 3-0 up just before Eve Higgins raced over for Ireland after a lovely offload from Sam Monaghan but the try was disallowed after an off the ball tackle by Dorothy Wall.

France then started to dominate, as wing Mélissande Llorens dived over on debut to score.

Caroline Drouin added another penalty as Ireland's discipline struggled and scrum-half Laure Sansus soon grabbed a second try off a five metre scrum.

France had a bonus point by half time with Audrey Forlani and Clara Joyeux grabbing two more tries and the second half started badly again for Ireland, with Beibhinn Parsons, who had come on at the break, gave away a penalty for a high tackle.

France kept up the pressure and Sansus swooped for her second eight minutes in.

That made it 33-0 but finally Ireland woke up and scored a great try through Higgins who sidestepped Sansus and ran in under the posts. 

A costly knock-on in their own 22 led to Ireland conceding a sixth try, full-back Emilie Boulard the beneficiary of an overlap to run in close to the posts. Replacement Jessy Trémoulière, who had taken an initial quick tap, converted to make it 40-5.

Ireland had more possession during the closing stages, with Hannah O'Connor, Parsons and Kathryn Dane all prominent, but they could not take advantage of Boulard's 83rd-minute sin-binning for a high tackle on Higgins.

France coach Thomas Darracq was impressed by the defensive intensity of his team.

He said: “Our aim was to be vary our game more. We had the plan to put pressure on Ireland and the defensive pressure we put on forced them into mistakes. Their mistakes were largely thanks to our defensive quality.”

France: Émilie Boulard; Cyrielle Banet, Maëlle Filopon, Gabrielle Vernier, Mélissande Llorens; 10. Caroline Drouin, Laure Sansus; 1. Coco Lindelauf, Laure Touyé, Clara Joyeux; Madoussou Fall, Audrey Forlani; Axelle Berthomieu, Gaëlle Hermet (capt), Romane Ménager.

Replacements: Célia Domain, Annaëlle Deshayes, Assia Khalfaoui, Céline Ferer, Julie Annery, Alexandra Chambon, Jessy Trémoulière, Chloé Jacquet.

Ireland: Eimear Considine; Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins, Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall; Nicole Cronin, Aoibheann Reilly; Linda Djougang, Neve Jones, Katie O'Dwyer, Nichola Fryday (capt), Sam Monaghan; Dorothy Wall, Edel McMahon, Brittany Hogan

Replacements: Emma Hooban, Chloe Pearse, Christy Hanley, Anna McGann, Hannah O'Connor, Kathryn Dane, Enya Breen, Beibhinn Parsons.

Referee: Aimee Barrett-Theron (SA)