Match Report


Red Roses France
England were crowned Guinness Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam champions with a 42-21 win over France in a scintillating finale match in Bordeaux.

Maud Muir and Alex Matthews granted the Red Roses the lead in the opening stages but France soon hit back through Gabrielle Vernier.

Meg Jones, Marlie Packer and Amy Cokayne all scored around Marine Menager’s try to enter half-time with a convincing advantage.

Menager and Matthews added to their tallies late on in an otherwise scoreless second half as the Red Roses wrapped up the win on French soil.


Both sides started as they meant to go on in this bruising encounter, with England drawing first blood inside five minutes through Muir after patient phases inside France’s 22.

It was then France’s turn to bombard English lines with Pauline Bourdon Sansus dummying before attempting a threatening kick only to find touch.

The Red Roses went traditional in the early stages, kicking for the lineout, and Matthews soon added a second after being fed a simple run-in from England’s maul.

The scores by no means dented French determination, with the hosts immediately snapping back with a reply through Vernier finding a gap in England’s stubborn defence.

Meg Jones pinched a try with an intercept in the 25th minute from an Emilie Boulard pass but France struck back through Marine Menager on the wing, assisted superbly by Bourdon Sansus.

Captain fantastic Marlie Packer was awarded for her efforts at the back of an England maul, awarded her score by the TMO following some strong lineout work.

Bourdon Sansus was denied a charge-down try for offside after Holly Aitchison’s kick spiralled into England’s 22.

And Cokayne ensured England had the last roll of the dice, going over from a five-metre penalty before half time.


France were dealt an early second-half blow when Assia Khalfaoui was shown an upgraded red for head-on-head contact with Morwenna Talling.

England suppressed French efforts to get on the front foot, with the crowd still cheering every inch of hard-fought metres gained by the hosts.

In the second period, France's offensive efforts and energy were slowed down by England, but the crowd roaring at every metre gained by their side.

France kept falling at the final fence in their attempt to put pressure on the scoreline, without reward for setting up camp inside England’s 22.

A muted period matched a lull in energy from the hosts, as Matthews edged England closer to their title with a superb turnover with 13 minutes to go, and still no second-half score.

Menager broke the second-half deadlock but, remarkably, with prior attempts to no avail, their score came too late to stage a comeback.

England cruised to be crowned champions in the closing stages as Matthews closed out the win with a final try in the 73rd minute.