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France Women change eight ahead of New Zealand clash

France Women change eight ahead of New Zealand clash

France Women head coach Annick Hayraud has made eight changes to her side in preparation for the mouth-watering clash against New Zealand on Saturday.

The Women’s Rugby Super Series encounter in America will mark the first time the two sides have met since last November’s momentous Test series.

Back in 2018 then-Six Nations champions France lost out in the first Test but produced an awesome display in the second to win 30-27 in front of an incredible crowd of 17,102 at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble.

The match represented the first time France had beaten the Black Ferns but they will attempt to repeat the trick in San Diego following the 36-19 defeat to Canada in the opener.

Hayraud has rung the changes and will be frustrated to be without the irrepressible Safi N’Diaye – Madoussou Fall coming in at lock – but has called upon plenty of star power elsewhere.

In the pack, Caroline Thomas is in at hooker, Annaelle Deshayes at prop and Céline Ferer at blindside flanker – skipper Gaelle Hermet moving to No.8 as Fiona Lecat drops to the bench.

In the backs, Pauline Bourdon starts at scrum-half and Morgane Peyronnet moves in from No.12 to fly-half – Emma Coudert dropping out altogether.

Gabrielle Vernier comes into the centres, Caroline Boujard onto the wing and the inspirational Jessy Trémoulière forms the last line of defence at full-back.

Speaking to Midi Olympique, Hayraud commented: “New Zealand are a complete team with the best scrum-half in the world. They have a lot of experience and are very physical.

“I’m not going to say that we will beat them, but we will have to try to move them around with a long kicking game, they are a little less comfortable in that part of the game.”

Tries from N’Diaye, Laure Sansus and Tremouliere weren’t enough for France in the first game as they lost out to Canada, the North Americans reclaiming third spot in the world rankings from the 2018 Grand Slam champions.