Seven of France's match-day 23 for their RWC 2021 quarter-final with Italy made their test debuts against the Azzurre

Seven of France's match-day 23 for their RWC 2021 quarter-final with Italy made their test debuts against the Azzurre

Seven of France's match-day 23 for their RWC 2021 quarter-final with Italy made their test debuts against the Azzurre, including hooker Agathe Sochat who will win her 40th cap in Whangārei on 29 October.


France coach Thomas Darracq has named his team for their Rugby World Cup 2021 quarter-final against Italy at Northland Events Centre on 29 October.


1. Annaëlle Deshaye
2. Agathe Sochat
3. Clara Joyeux
4. Céline Ferer
5. Madoussou Fall
6. Gaëlle Hermet (captain)
7. Marjorie Mayans
8. Charlotte Escudero
9. Pauline Bourdon
10. Caroline Drouin
11. Marine Ménager
12. Gabrielle Vernier
13. Maëlle Filopon
14. Joanna Grisez
15. Emilie Boulard

16. Laure Touye
17. Coco Lindelauf
18. Assia Khalfaoui
19. Safi N'Diaye
20. Emeline Gros
21. Alexandra Chambon
22. Lina Queyroi
23. Chloé Jacquet


  • France coach Thomas Darracq has made eight personnel and one positional change to his starting line-up from the 44-0 victory over Fiji last weekend
  • Annaëlle Deshaye, Agathe Sochat and Clara Joyeux return are France’s preferred front row. Sochat will play her 40th test for Les Bleues since making her debut against Italy in 2016
  • Madoussou Fall returns to partner Céline Ferer in the second row with Marjorie Mayans and Charlotte Escudero joining captain Gaëlle Hermet in the back row
  • Caroline Drouin shifts back to fly-half to partner Pauline Bourdon with Gabrielle Vernier returning at inside centre to win her 30th cap alongside Maëlle Filopon
  • Joanna Grisez comes back onto the right wing in place of Melissandre Llorens, joining Marine Ménager and Emilie Boulard in the back three
  • Front-row trio Laure Toye, Coco Lindelauf and Assia Khalfaoui are among five players to drop to the bench for this match, the others being Safi N’Diaye and Emeline Gros
  • Seven of France’s match-day 23 made their test debuts against Italy, including number eight Charlotte Escudero and replacement fly-half Lina Queyroi as recently as in France’s 21-0 victory on 3 September
  • Marjorie Mayans (October 2011), Sochat (February 2016), Caroline Drouin (March 2017), Emeline Gros (November 2017) and Assia Khalfaoui (March 2022) are the others
  • This is the fourth time France and Italy will meet in 2022, the most ever in a calendar year. Les Bleues ran out 39-6 winners in the Women’s Six Nations in March and 21-0 in their first RWC 2021 warm-up in September, before the Azzurre triumphed 26-19 a week later in Biella
  • This is the first time the teams will meet on the Rugby World Cup stage
  • While it is a first Rugby World Cup quarter-final for Italy, France have only once failed to reach the semi-finals, in 1998 when they lost 9-7 to Canada in the quarter-finals in Amsterdam

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