Jessy Trémoulière last night became the first French recipient of the World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year award, having helped Les Bleues win the Six Nations Grand Slam.
She received the award ahead of four other nominees in France team-mates Gaëlle Hermet, Safi N’Diaye and Pauline Bourdon and New Zealand captain Fiao’o Faamausili.
Due to injury she missed all of France's November internationals, including their win over New Zealand.
Trémoulière said: "Last year was frustrating because I was injured and I felt I was missing something to be at the top of my game, but I had this feeling that I wanted to be the best player in the world and now it is a reality and it is just fabulous. So many people have supported me over the years and I want to thank all of them."
The 26 year-old, who grew up on a farm in the Auvergne, has been playing rugby for barely 10 years. Jessy was originally a very promising football player before a friend persuaded her to accompany her to a rugby try-out event at a local school. She was immediately signed up by her local club, and within two years had been selected for her country at U20 and 7s. In 2011 she made her test debut, and immediately solved France's perennial goal-kicking problem with three penalites and a conversion against England in the 2011 autumn internationals, kicks that were instrumental in a French win by 16-15.
Despite that initial success Jessy at first found it difficult to maintain a place in the starting XV of the French team. Caroline Ladagnous had a firm grip on the number 15 shirt, and an attempt by then coach Christian Galloner to turn Jessy into a fly-half had mixed results, with Jessy being surprisingly dropped after one game against Wales, despite scoring a brace of tries, allegedly due to her keeping the ball herself and not passing enough to team mates. Only after Ladagnous was switched to sevens after the 2014 World Cup did Jessy finally find a more permanent starting spot in the French test team, though she too found success at sevens after a last minute call-up for the Olympics.
The combination of being a first choice player, looked up to as a veteran by younger players joining the squad, allied to her sevens experience developed her confidence and ability. With the new coaching team allowing Jessy to play her natural game she had a magnificent Six Nations - she was out player of the tournament - and thoroughly deserved the award
New Zealand's Michaela Blyde was voted the sevens player of the year for the second successive year.