Liberated, delivered… I promise, the Bleues will delight us during this Six Nations Tournament

No need to completely miss a World Cup to make your revolution. Take the women’s XV of France. Honest 3rd of the New Zealand World Cup in the fall (even if they were aiming for the title), the Blue attack the Six Nations Tournament, this Sunday in Italy, with a new framework. Coach Thomas Darracq and manager Annick Hayraud jumped ship in December, and yesterday’s assistants Gaëlle Mignot and David Ortiz have become today’s bosses.

“It’s a revival, appreciates the new captain Audrey Forlani, who is coming back strong after being deprived of the World Cup. Training is going pretty well, with a good atmosphere on and off the field. We play liberated, that’s what will surely be our strength. »

Because despite the correct results, and a defeat in extremis against the Blacks Ferns, future champions, in the semi-finals (24-25), the epic among the Kiwis took place in an atmosphere closer to Little murders between friends that of Camping Paradise : months before the start, already, relations between Darracq and many executives were strained, the technician being criticized for imposing too stereotyped a game and curbing the talent of the players.

A starting team overhauled by more than 50%

The bronze in the pocket, it’s a rant pushed in The Team by the opener Jessy Trémoulière (elected best player in the world for the decade 2010-2020), frustrated to have played the utilities in New Zealand, who put a coin in the nourrain. The FFR had to put out the fire, indicating that “debriefing and analysis work” was in progress. “This change of staff is what we expected, because it didn’t go very well with Thomas and we couldn’t continue like this, we really needed a renewal”, admitted without force former captain Gaëlle Hermet, this week In The Team.

The Toulouse 3rd line will start on the bench on Sunday. Eight non-starting players in the half against New Zealand will start the match, including opener Carla Arbez (Stade Bordelais) and Montpellier wingers Caroline Boujard and Cyrielle Banet, dismissed before the World Cup like Forlani. Between the stops (Sansus, N’Diaye, Mayans, Ferer…), the injuries (Romane Ménager, Fall…) and the players left at the disposal of rugby sevens (Drouin and Grisez), the group underwent a major facelift.

Audrey Forlani, the new captain of the XV of France.
Audrey Forlani, the new captain of the XV of France. -Andy Buchanan/AFP

The coaches are constantly talking about “the new cycle” which is taking place with the aim of winning the 2025 World Cup, with the English, their lifelong rivals. Any resemblance to “the arrow of time” dear to Fabien Galthié is not at all coincidental.

“It’s a new group, with the desire to integrate new people, to put everyone in competition”, asserted Gaëlle Mignot this Friday at a press conference. “We want the defense to be important, like the conquest and that the girls take the initiative, to start building on that. “All that the players have been asking for for months therefore, while the tricolor game has more often triggered yawns than cries of enthusiasm.

Waiting for the “crunch”

“The French women’s team wants to pick up speed and of course you will enjoy watching all our matches on the VI Nations”, assures Audrey Forlani, named captain for this competition, with a review clause afterwards. “I make a little more speeches because it’s my role but I’m not going to change, underlines the 2nd line (31 years old, 57 caps), who already assumes this role in the club. If Gaëlle and David chose me, it’s for my exemplarity in the field, my resilience and my humility. »

“It’s a weighed, measured, argued, thoughtful choice, confirms David Ortiz. By her values, her state of mind, her past, her experience, she embodies the profile of captain that we wanted. »

Inevitably, who says Six Nations Women’s Tournament says decisive “crunch”, both English (who remain on four Grand Slams in a row) and French dominate the competition. Finally, especially the Red Roses, victorious in their last 11 face-to-face with the Blues, and who had chained 30 successes before stumbling on the last step, in the final of the World Cup.

“We are going to build our foundations and devote ourselves to the Italy match,” slows down Forlani, who, like his coaches, likes to dip into the vocabulary of construction to evoke the start of this new era. That said, the old cliché of “we take the matches one after the other” can be heard: if the Tricolores crushed the Transalpines in the quarter-finals of the World Cup (39-3), they had previously stumbled at the beginning of September during a warm-up match played in Biella, Piedmont (26-19).

“We have two very important trips to gauge us [Italie et Irlande], dissects the Blagnacaise taulière. Then we will receive twice [Ecosse et pays de Galles] before moving to England where already more than 40,000 tickets have been sold. If all goes well, the Grand Slams will be in play on April 29 at Twickenham, where the last passage of an XV of France (victory 53-10) left very bad memories for the natives.

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