France sent a shockwave through the women’s game on Saturday night after they produced a gutsy 25-16 win over New Zealand, their second victory in a row over the world champions.
Just a week from an opening defeat to Canada in the Super Series in the USA, Les Bleues were full of desire and determination to down the Black Ferns.
France ceded their Women’s Six Nations crown to England this year and were without a number of key players up front including Safi N’Diaye and Romane Menager.
But captain Gaelle Hermet – who stepped in at No.8 in the win – was delighted with the way France rolled up their sleeves to keep their Super Series hopes alive.
“I think it was all about our energy, our determination and our team spirit that won us this match,” she said.
“This is the second time we have beaten them now and we have to keep this run going.
“Next match we have to replicate this level of performance so we have to keep working as hard as we have been over the last few weeks.
Impossible n’est pas français 🇫🇷 Fière de ce groupe ❤️ merci à tous pour vos messages , à dans 4 jours même heure pour le match contre l’Angleterre 🏴 #mateam #francefeminines #superseries2019 pic.twitter.com/GEioOnjsTA
— Caroline Boujard (@CarolineBoujard) July 7, 2019
“Above all we are thinking about Safi and Romane, they are important players for us so a huge thought for them and everyone else back home in France supporting us through the TV screen.”
France made a dream start when Jessy Tremouliere put Caroline Boujard over for the game’s first try inside five minutes.
Tremouliere then added to the score with a penalty before Maelle Filopon went over for their second.
Tremouliere slotted another and leading 18-6 at the break, France looked well-placed for another fantastic win.
But the Black Ferns are not world champions for nothing, and they came storming back in the second half through the boot of Kendra Cocksedge.
However, Tremouliere then went over for France’s third try and, despite a couple of yellow cards late on and a Kiwi penalty try, they held on for a famous win.
Next up for France is a re-match with England, the Grand Slam winners earlier this year and their eternal rivals in the northern hemisphere.
England are two from two in this Super Series after a narrow win over Canada this weekend.
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) July 7, 2019
Canada – conquerors of France in the first round of games – led early on against the Red Roses.
But tries from Kelly Smith and Sarah Hunter gave England a narrow advantage that they held onto until full time.
And France manager Annick Hayraud is delighted that her side are firing on all cylinders before locking horns with England.
“We produced a great performance, particularly in the first half where the girls pulled off everything that we asked of them, it was fantastic,” she said.