France women avenge Canada loss
By Meghan Mutrie
From Stade de France
France's Women bounced back from suffering a first loss to Canada in 11 years with a defiant 22-0 victory in their historic encounter at the Stade de France in a curtain raiser to Les Bleus tackling Samoa on Saturday.
Canada's 14-5 victory in Dijon on Wednesday had come only hours after the sides were named in the same pool for Women's Rugby World Cup in England next year and left France with a point to prove in the iconic stadium.
The first women's national teams to play at the Stade de France, the two sides entertained a crowd of around 8,000 and did not disappoint, particularly the home side who drew inspiration from the historic day to shut out their opponents 22-0.
Canada had no alternative but to batten down the hatches in the first half with the French women relentless in their attacking play, an early try putting the Canadians on the back foot and one they were unable to recover from.
The first step
Lucie Godiveau, Laetitia Salles and Anais Lagougine all crossed for tries, with Aurelie Bailon converting two and also kicking a penalty in the victory as France played to the occasion and controlled the game, contesting the ball around the fringes and dominating the point of contact.
"France started a lot quicker than they did on Wednesday," admitted Canada second row Paige Burdett. "They really challenged us up front and at the breakdowns. I don't think we gave them as much of a challenge at the point of contact. We didn't play our game because we were on defence for most of it.
"France did what we wanted to do at the contact area, and around the fringes. They gave their backs the perfect platform to kick and attack from. They sucked our defence in and then played it out wide."
Canada coach Johnathan Long added: "We just didn't start very well. It was all about our execution. Unfortunately we just didn't click. Once we let in that early try, we were left chasing the game after that."
"There were still a lot of positives. Again we need to go away and work on the things that didn't quite come together today, but we knew this was just the first step in preparation for the World Cup."