Rugby: Les Blues wants to play “more freely” against Ireland

La sélectionneuse de l'équipe de France Annick Hayraud, avant le match du Tournoi des Six nations contre l'Italie, le 17 mars 2019 à Padoue (AFP/Archives - Tiziana FABI)

France’s Women’s XV welcome Ireland to Toulouse on Saturday (3:15 pm) after their first victory over Italy, with the intention of playing “more freely” to ensure themselves in the quest for their first title of the tournament. Six countries from 2018.

Having a fever in the first period against the Italians (final score 39-6), the Blues multiplied the figures: forwards, loss of balls, problems with touch and touch … before setting the record straight from the locker room.

France coach Anne Hairod (AFP / Archives – Tiziana FABI) ahead of the Six Nations tournament match against Italy in Padua on March 17, 2019

“I think it was a bit of a rush and stressful as it was the first match of the tournament. It was hard for some players who were not used to it, so we were a little bit surprised. It’s a good team in front of us, it just increased our excitement,” Blue’s manager AFP told Anne Hayrod.

But this first match in the beginning was a bit confusing but ended in a better victory without giving up a single attempt, ultimately “a blessing in disguise”, the technician believes.

“We were upset at our conquest, which is new to us, because so far, we’ve mastered it, like touch on the scrum. And then in the game, we’ve stored everything, because we do not offer a lot of alternatives,” Annick Hayraud explains.

“We need to grow a little more,” she says. Seven changes were made to bring “a little more maturity” to the team facing the Irish at Ernest-Valen Stadium compared to the line-up against the Italian players.

Unable to qualify for the World Cup in New Zealand (October 8-November 12), the Les Blues’ opponents, who lost to Wales last Saturday, are going through a complicated period: they are “in a bit of trouble”. Changed staff and the need to rebuild.

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AFP / Archives - Damien MEYER (AFP / Archives - Damien MEYER) - AFP / Archives - Damien MEYER (AFP / Archives - Damien MEYER)
AFP / Archives – Damien MEYER (AFP / Archives – Damien MEYER) – AFP / Archives – Damien MEYER (AFP / Archives – Damien MEYER)

Out of 19 duels with Ireland in the tournament, the French women’s XV won 16, including 9 at home.

“But Ireland still remains a team with a lot of mind and desire,” the coach warned.

Despite the bonus attempt against Italy, young fullback Chloe Jacquet, who was on the substitutes’ bench on Saturday, is well aware of this: “They are going to put a lot of pressure on us, so we have to adapt, to play fairly and more freely,” she told AFP.

France XV will travel to Scotland on April 10, the third day of the tournament.

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