England’s game against France on today has been called the Women’s Six Nations decider by many and with good reason. France are the Grand Slam holders, but the hosts sit one place higher than the french in the world rankings in second. The France side will have a number of regulars absent after representing their country at the rugby 7’s in Sydney.
The visitors are also without World Rugby Player of the Year Jessy Tremouliere, who is still out with an injury sustained at the end of 2018. Tremouliere, represented France at the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup and also became a member of the squad that won their fourth Six Nations title the same year.
Chadwick Media caught up with the french international full-back this week to discuss the up coming Six Nations game against England, whilst also asking the World Rugby Player of the Year a few questions about her own rugby career.
Biggest influence on your rugby career?
It’s impossible to name just one person that has influenced my career as several people have contributed to my development from a young player through to World Player of the Year including my coaches in Romagnat Annick Hayraud and Scelzo Martin. My physical trainer who has been present during my recent injuries and the french 7’s & 15’s coaches plus my family (Dad and Brothers) and my very close friends.
What is the highlight of your rugby career?
Again it is difficult to pick just one highlight in my career, but signing my contract with the french 7’s team was very special because being part of the international team helped me to progress not just as a player but also as a person. However my best memory was with the French 15’s winning two Grand Slams and recently the France victory over England in Grenoble, where I got to play in front of my family.
Tell us about your rugby international debut?
I made my international debut at the age of nineteen in November 2011, it was a dream come true for me and the squad made me feel very welcome. I started playing rugby at the age of sixteen and the first year was all about discovering myself, but gradually I started to get better and had ambitions to play from the national side. I even went to watch two or three international matches and had photographs taken with some of the national players that inspired me and later I got to play alongside them for France.
The toughest opponent you faced and why?
The toughest opponent’s definitely has to be the English and they are always special games. They always seem to be big games and there is a certain rivalry, but always with respect, oppositions enriching and I you know that the game will be played to the plan.
Best player you played with and why?
Again, two players come to mind the first being Sandrine Agricole who is very experienced at international level and is always on hand to offer advise when you need it, she knows how to do everything, excellent on the ball with both her feet and hands. I remember her playing centre and taking the ball fifty metres before passing me the ball to go over the try line to finish the job. The second player is Élodie Poublan a very good rugby player who plays at centre she has enormous talent.
Best player you have played against and why?
The best player I have played against are both english, the first one is Cathy McLean, a very good English player who knows how to use her foot. She is an excellent player in the 15’s side with great vision, one of the best in the world. The second player is Danielle Waterman an excellent 15’s player who has been an inspiration to me when i first played International rugby, her support play and speed over the pitch is outstanding.
The French team has a good mix of youth and experience within the team. What do you think are the players to watch for in the team and why?
We have some really good young players coming through into the squad, however at the moment they are still developing and it is up to the senior players to give them advise and to help them grow into top internationals. I think the players to watch in this Six Nations tournament will be Lenaïg Courson for her physical abilities and her athletic’s, Pauline Bourdon who has many different abilities we call her our little bumblebee and Ian Jason for her physical skills and pace down the wing.
The England v France match is already becoming the title deciding six nations match, can you give us your view on this match?
It will be a very difficult game we have some new players in the squad who are still finding their feet, plus we have the rugby 7’s girls missing as they have just come back from a tournament in Sydney. The England game will be totally different from the game last week in Wales and we are expecting to face a side hungry for revenge.
Finally, women’s sport in the world is becoming stronger, the English team became professional last month do you think that rugby in France will soon become a full-time professional sport?
It’s good to see women’s sport expanding around the world and that we are now seeing more and more women taking part in sport at the elite level. I think rugby has been falling behind in terms of full-time contracts but its good to see the England team are now getting full-time contracts. In France at the moment we have just received our new part-time contracts (November 2018) but I hope to see us become full-time players shortly or we could start to fall behind the full-time countries.