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Menager returns as France name starting line-up for Black Ferns

By Lucy Lomax
South Africa's Lusanda Dumke (R) tackles France's Romane Menager during the New Zealand 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup Pool C match between South Africa and France at Eden Park in Auckland on October 8, 2022. (Photo by Michael Bradley / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP via Getty Images)

Number eight Romane Ménager returns to the France starting line-up for their semi-final with hosts New Zealand at Eden Park after sitting out the last two matches following a head knock in the 13-7 loss to England in the pool stages.

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Nine of the starting line-up named for this semi-final started in France’s 29-7 victory over New Zealand in their last meeting in November 2021. Agathe Sochat, Annaëlle Deshaye, Céline Ferer, captain Gaëlle Hermet, Romane Ménager, Pauline Bourdon, Caroline Drouin, Gabrielle Vernier and Maëlle Filopon all started in Castres, while Clara Joyeux and Emilie Boulard came off the bench.

Ménager’s return at number eight sees Charlotte Escudero shift to openside flanker with Marjorie Mayans dropping to the bench.

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The other personnel change on the bench see Célia Domain named as replacement hooker in place of Laure Touye with replacement Safi N’Diaye, France’s most-capped player, set to play her 90th test off the bench.

France are currently on a four-game winning streak against the Black Ferns dating back to November 2018, but this is the first time they will meet on New Zealand soil.

France have now reached the semi-finals in eight of the nine World Cups played, but are yet to reach the title decider.

France team to face Black Ferns:
1. Annaëlle Deshaye
2. Agathe Sochat
3. Clara Joyeux
4. Céline Ferer
5. Madoussou Fall
6. Gaëlle Hermet (captain)
7. Charlotte Escudero
8. Romane Ménager

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9. Pauline Bourdon
10. Caroline Drouin
11. Marine Ménager
12. Gabrielle Vernier
13. Maëlle Filopon
14. Joanna Grisez
15. Emilie Boulard

16. Célia Domain
17. Coco Lindelauf
18. Assia Khalfaoui
19. Safi N’Diaye
20. Marjorie Mayans
21. Alexandra Chambon
22. Lina Queyroi
23. Chloé Jacquet

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