Gabrielle Vernier shone with and without the ball in France’s opening Women’s Six Nations victory over Wales, earning the praise of France great Serge Betsen for her defensive work.
Flanker Betsen, who made 63 appearances for France, winning two Grand Slams in the process, stood out for his own defensive acumen, most famously in a win over England on the way to the title in 2002.
And on an evening in Vannes where France were ferocious in defence, stopping Wales from getting over the gain line, it was Vernier who really caught his eye.
The centre was France’s second highest tackler on the night with 12 tackles, including three dominant tackles.
And Betsen was quick to praise the performance of the side who sit pretty at the top of Pool B after the first round of action.
He took to Twitter, saying: “Super match, 53-0. A great start and a super performance in particular from the back row of Emeline Gros, Céline Ferer and Gaëlle Hermet.
“I appreciated the tackles of Gabrielle Vernier.
“Recover well and good luck for this new-look Women’s Six Nations.”
Two members of the French side came back to Betsen, skipper Hermet saying that his performances in the back row had been an inspiration to the players when they were younger.
And lock Lenaïg Corson, who did not feature against Wales, added: “When it’s Serge Betsen who says this! Gabi Vernier, he’s talking about your little tackles!”
France have a week off now before heading to Ireland for their second Pool B game, knowing that a victory would seal their place at the top of the pool.