Match Report

France Women power to Grand Slam glory in Wales

France Women secured the fifth Grand Slam in their history in style as they beat Wales 38-3 at Colwyn Bay.

France Women secured the fifth Grand Slam in their history in style as they beat Wales 38-3 at Colwyn Bay.

Les Bleues scored six tries in all, to ensure they followed up last week’s late win over England with a convincing success in north Wales.

See how the Women’s Six Nations table finished up

This game was closer than the final score suggested, but just as they have all Championship, the French defence proved difficult to break down.

They had conceded just 20 points over the course of their first four matches, and despite spending much of this game on the back foot, they were able to nullify the Welsh attack.

By contrast, when the visitors did get a chance, they invariably took it, allowing them to run out convincing winners.

France started strongly and took an early lead when Cyrielle Banet countered following a clearance kick from Robyn Wilkins. She burst through the heart of the Welsh defence, and though she was dragged down just short of the line, she was able to offload to Pauline Bourdon to dive over.

Jessy Trémoulière converted to make it 7-0.

And it got better for France on 12 minutes when Bourdon found half-back partner Caroline Drouin, who sliced through and went under the posts for the second try of the game. Trémoulière converted once again.

Wales bounced back from that difficult start by growing into the game with some extended periods of possession, although they lost Alisha Butchers to injury midway through the half.

Despite the loss of Butchers, the game was being played for the most part in French territory, and eventually the Welsh got on the board with a penalty from Robyn Wilkins five minutes before half-time.

The final minutes of the half were going to be crucial, and it was France who ran in try number three to stretch their lead further.

It came following a scything break by Carla Neisen and while the defence got back to stop her, France went through the phases and eventually Trémoulière reached over for her sixth try of the Championship.

She could not convert her own score, but Les Bleues led 19-3 at the break.

As they had in the first half, Wales enjoyed possession in the France half early in the second half, but again they struggled to convert that into points.

Instead, as the rain started to fall, France were able to stretch their lead with their first real chance of the half.

Spreading the ball wide to Caroline Boujard, the winger chipped over the top and showed her pace to sprint past Jasmine Joyce. Just as she looked set to dot down, Joyce caught her without the ball, and was logically sin-binned while conceding the penalty try to make it 26-3.

France were up a back, but it was their forwards who provided the next try, with Agathe Sochat crossing after a rolling maul.

Again Wales came back but could not take their chances, whereas France counter-attacked with 12 minutes to go and scored the try of the game, with Neisen breaking, finding Boujard outside her, and then staying in support to sprint over from the winger’s inside pass.