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France Women stars do battle in domestic semi-finals

France Women stars do battle in domestic semi-finals

The stars of France Women’s 2019 Six Nations campaign do domestic battle this weekend as the Elite 1 reaches what promises to be a thriller of a final-four stage.

Both semis will be played on Saturday 11 May, with Toulouse taking on Blagnac and Montpellier lining up against Bayonne.

The new 16-team structure of the French Elite division resulted in the first ever quarter-finals last weekend, with the top team in each of the two pools playing fourth in the opposite pool, and second playing third.

First up in the semi-finals on Saturday, at 11:15 BST, France skipper Gaelle Hermet and Toulouse take on their city rivals Blagnac in a local derby that will see Hermet’s side attempt to set up a repeat of last year’s final against Montpellier.

In the quarter-finals last weekend Poule B winners Toulouse maintained their excellent form by downing Rennes 22-10, and will be out to hold off Blagnac’s challenge on Saturday.

Blagnac’s quarter-final against Bobigny was the closest of the four – the home side were leading 20-13 but a late try for Bobigny brought them close – the missed conversion leaving things at 20-18.

Two hours later on Saturday and we have the might of Montpellier taking on Bayonne, with the champions in ominous form again this season led by Les Bleues’ Safi N’Diaye and the Menager twins – Marine and Romane.

Poule A winners Montpellier were superb again last week, powering past Grenoble 51-7, but now face the challenge of Pauline Bourdon’s Bayonne.

The runners up in Poule B won reasonably comfortably against Romagnat in the quarter-finals, prop Torha Balde scoring their first try after 12 minutes.

Up 14-3 at half-time, Bayonne resisted a strong comeback from Romagnat in the second half to prevail 21-15.