Nassira Konde was among the try scorers for France (file pic). Alamy Stock Photo
In form

France on course for Grand Slam after win over Italy

They have now won three out of three, the same as England who hammered Scotland 46-0 on Saturday.

FRANCE STAYED on course for a Grand Slam showdown with England in the women’s Six Nations after running in six tries in a 38-15 win over Italy at the Stade Jean Bouin in Paris on Sunday.

The French ran in four tries in the first half when they overpowered the Italians. A raft of replacements led to a more even second period but overall it was a comfortable win for France.

They have now won three out of three, the same as England who hammered Scotland 46-0 on Saturday. The English head the standings, however, having secured one more bonus point than the French.

Providing both win their matches next weekend — England host Ireland while France play Wales in Cardiff — the championship and a Grand Slam will be on the line when the two sides meet in the final weekend in Bordeaux.

“The final (against England) isn’t here yet,” said France captain Manae Feleu.

“We’ve still got one last match to go to if we want to reach it.

“The desire is always to do better. You talk about a perfect performance but there’s always room for improvement, and we’re going to work hard this week for what’s to come.

“It’s nice to see that we’re improving match by match but there’s always work to be done and we’re going to get back to work quickly because there are still two big matches to go to win this title.”

France, who had already beaten Ireland and Scotland, were far too strong in the first half for the Italians on a warm, sunny afternoon in the capital.

A long pass from outside-half Lina Queyroi set up outside centre Nassira Konde for the opening try after just two minutes.

Italy had bounced back from an opening defeat by England by beating Ireland last time out but they had only a Beatrice Rigoni penalty to show for their efforts in the first half.

At the other end they struggled to defend against the power and pace of the French.

The hosts scored tries through loosehead prop Annaelle Deshayes, flanker Charlotte Escudero and left-wing Melissande Llorens.

Queyroi kicked three out of four conversions to give them a 26-3 lead at the break.

France scored two more tries in the second half.

Tighthead Assia Khalfaouo and lock Madoussou Fall went over but the Italians showed considerable pluck in matching them 12-12 in the half, left-wing Alyssa D’Inca crossing twice to offer them some consolation.

Sunday’s match also marked the final international for Irish referee Joy Neville, World Rugby’s referee of the year in 2017 and the first female to be part of a men’s World Cup officiating panel when she worked as a television match official.

– © AFP 2024

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