Preview: France Women v New Zealand Women

France Women will look to make it two wins from two over New Zealand and complete a hat-trick of victories this November when they take on the Black Ferns in Castres.

France Women will look to make it two wins from two over New Zealand and complete a hat-trick of victories this November when they take on the Black Ferns in Castres.

Fresh from their comprehensive 38-13 win in Pau, the largest in their history, France have made minimal changes as they look for a fourth successive triumph against the world champions.

While even a convincing win would not be enough for Les Bleues to overhaul the Black Ferns officially as the world’s second-best side, the Women’s Six Nations runners-up know that if they can back up last week’s success, they will be regarded by all as the team most likely to beat the seemingly unstoppable Red Roses.

Considering some of the big-name absentees, notably Rose Bernadou, Madoussou Fall, Marjorie Mayans and now Caroline Boujard, this autumn has also served to build French depth, and they will be hoping to see more development from the likes of Coco Lindelauf and Chloé Jacquet at the Stade Pierre-Fabre.

Team news

The two changes made by Les Bleues are in the back three where 19-year-old Jacquet is preferred to Emilie Boulard, one of the breakthrough stars of the Women’s Six Nations. Despite being a centre, Jacquet will start at full-back.

Meanwhile, on the wing Boujard is absent to take her firefighting exams so it is Marie-Aurélie Castel who starts opposite Cyrielle Banet.

For their part, the Black Ferns have made a host of changes including Kelly Brazier starting at fly-half and try-scorer Eloise Blackwell promoted to the starting line-up in the second row.

On the bench, Kendra Reynolds is in line to make her debut.

Key battle – Caroline Drouin v Kelly Brazier

Caroline Drouin was at her very best in Pau, pulling the strings alongside Pauline Bourdon in the half-backs as France cruised to victory.

She faces a different challenge this week as the vastly experienced Kelly Brazier lines up opposite her in the Black Ferns No.10 jersey.

Brazier has won everything there is to win in the women’s game and started the last World Cup final at inside centre.

With New Zealand having lost all three of their matches so far this autumn, their hopes of breaking that duck likely rest on Brazier and her partnership with scrum-half Kendra Cocksedge.

France: 15. Chloé Jacquet (Lyon Olympique Universitaire), 14. Cyrielle Banet (Montpellier RC), 13. Maëlle Filopon (Stade Toulousain Rugby), 12. Gabrielle Vernier (Blagnac Rugby Féminin), 11. Marie-Aurélie Castel (Stade Rennais Rugby), 10. Caroline Drouin (Stade Rennais Rugby), 9. Pauline Bourdon (Stade Toulousain Rugby); 1. Coco Lindelauf (Blagnac Rugby Féminin), 2. Agathe Sochat (Stade Bordelais), 3. Annaëlle Deshayes (Lyon Olympique Universitaire), 4. Céline Ferer (Stade Toulousain Rugby), 5. Audrey Forlani (Blagnac Rugby Féminin), 6. Gaëlle Hermet (Stade Toulousain Rugby), 7. Romane Ménager (Montpellier RC), 8. Emeline Gros (Montpellier RC)

Replacements: 16. Caroline Thomas (ASM Romagnat Rugby Féminin), 17. Yllana Brosseau (Stade Bordelais), 18. Clara Joyeux (Blagnac Rugby Féminin), 19. Safi N’Diaye (Montpellier RC) 20. Julie Annery (Stade Français Paris), 21. Laure Sansus (Stade Toulousain Rugby), 22. Morgan Peyronnet (Montpellier RC), 23. Émilie Boulard (RC Chilly Mazarin)

New Zealand: 15 Cheyelle Robins-Reti, 14 Stacey Fluhler, 13 Carla Hohepa, 12 Chelsea Alley, 11 Portia Woodman, 10 Kelly Brazier, 9 Kendra Cocksedge, 1 Philippa Love, 2 Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, 3 Aleisha-Pearl Nelson, 4 Eloise Blackwell, 5 Maiakawanakaulani Roos, 6 Liana Mikaele-Tu’u, 7 Les Elder (c), 8 Kennedy Simon

Replacements: 16 Georgia Ponsonby, 17 Aldora Itunu, 18 Amy Rule, 19 Alana Bremner, 20 Kendra Reynolds, 21 Ariana Bayler, 22 Ruahei Demant, 23 Renee Wickliffe