Women’s Six Nations ambassador Maggie Alphonsi has given her prediction for the Women’s Six Nations final on Saturday, as England seek a third consecutive title against 2018 winners France.

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Joining Christina Mahon, Ryan Wilson and Jamie Roberts on RugbyPass Offload this week, Alphonsi, who won a record seven consecutive Six Nations titles with England, reflected on how the newly formatted Championship has been so far, saying there has been some “really good rugby”.

“It’s been really entertaining,” the 74-cap former flanker said. “I think initially going into the tournament we weren’t quite sure what to expect because obviously it was supposed to run during the men’s Six Nations window. It got delayed due to Covid and many of the players haven’t been playing lots of rugby, especially those who aren’t part of the Allianz Premier 15s.

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Maggie Alphonsi guests on The Offload:

“But it’s been really entertaining rugby. There have been some big scores. As expected, England, they’re a professional side, they have players playing in the Prem 15s, they’ve got players who are incredibly fit and they have stormed the way.

“So it’s been some really good rugby, I’m so looking forward to Super Saturday. The big final between England and France, that’s going to be interesting because they have battled it out many times. Most recently England have won, but anything can happen on Super Saturday, we all know what it’s like, especially with the Six Nations anything can happen with the last fixture.”

Both sides breezed through their pools, with England beating Scotland 52-10 and Italy 67-3 in Pool A, and France beating Wales 53-0 and Ireland 56-15 in Pool B, to set up the final at Twickenham Stoop at 2pm on Saturday. Meanwhile, Italy will host Ireland at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi and Scotland will host Wales at Scotstoun.

When asked to give her prediction for the final, Alphonsi said it is likely to go down to the last few minutes.

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“I used to play for England, I guess I’m supposed to say England. But I actually think it’s going to be a close one. So the last two Tests that England and France played were in the autumn, and those two Tests England won but the last one was really close. It went down to some final referee decisions which I thought were quite key and the French missed out.

“The French are very good at having a fast start, they sometimes can take the lead but what happens is sometimes their discipline can affect them. So as a result of that, a few penalties, a couple of yellow cards and all of a sudden the game changes momentum and England get the upper hand.

“England have a lot of talented players, Emily Scarratt is a good example, but they are without a player who’s recently retired, Katy Daley-Mclean, and they’ve got some nice players coming through like Helena Rowland.

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“So I just think it’s going to be a physical contest. England love to have a good physical defence against the French. We all know what the French are like, big physical players who love to carry the ball hard, regardless of the gender. So that’s what it’s going to be like, it’s going to be a competitive game and I know it sounds very cliche but it’s going to be 80 minutes. It has to be 80 minutes of rugby because I’ve seen France lose the game in the last ten minutes, so whoever can sustain that level of pressure will definitely obtain that win.”

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