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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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Shaylen 4 hours ago
Brumbies the best team in Australia but still nothing to show for it

The Brumbies have been the strongest side in Australia for a long time and that was down to their forwards and set piece which has always been good and has always been able to dominate their Australian counterparts. This year the lack of maul tries and also the lack of a stable scrum has been a real problem which was also something Nick alluded to in his article this week about the creaking brumbies tight five. Home advantage is key as you say and the Brumbies must find a way to score more bonus points. If the Brumbies are really serious about winning a title they need to do what Kiwi sides at the top do. They need to smash every Aus side with a bonus point at home while claiming losing bonus points in every game they lose and denying their rivals bonus points. In their 3 losses in NZ this year they were smashed. They only scored 60 tries which is middle of the road, their scrum came in at 73% which was one of the worst in the comp, tackle success at just 83% which was right at the bottom and in terms of metres, clean breaks, carries, offloads and rucks built they were in the middle plus they had the most yellows. They basically were just not dominant enough wile they can improve their discipline. They excelled at kicking and won plenty of lineout ball plus their rucks were secure at 97%. Not sure about turnovers but they weren’t bad there. They just need to be more clinical and give away less and they will give themselves the best chance to win the title.

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