Vernier grabs hat trick as France Women bounce back

Vernier grabs hat trick as France Women bounce back

Gabrielle Vernier scored a brilliant hat-trick as France Women bounced back from defeat to England to see off Scotland 41-10 in Lille.

Les Bleues, Grand Slam champions a year ago, had fallen to the English in Doncaster, but had the bonus point by half-time here.

Vernier dotted down twice in the first half, with Pauline Bourdon and Doriane Constanty also crossing, while Rhona Lloyd went over for the sole Scottish score.

The second half was tighter, with Vernier Caroline Boujard and Ian Jason crossing for France, and Emma Wassell pulling one back for the Scots.

France were able to build on a dominant scrum, that forced penalties at regular intervals. And they opened the scoring after just nine minutes when Vernier showed her power to break a couple of tackles on her way over the line.

The second followed on 15 minutes, this time from a scrum as Romane Ménager picked from the base, pulled in the last defender and put Bourdon in for the easy score.

Bourdon had missed both conversions but Scotland responded with some extended possession in the French 22. It paid with Hannah Smith particularly dangerous and it was she who fed Lloyd for a score in the right corner.

France responded, Emma Coudert putting in a little chip over the top that Vernier did well to claim and dot down. Bourdon’s conversion made it 17-5.

And right on the stroke of half-time, France produced arguably their best move of the game to date, with rampaging forward runs and offloads ending with Constanty cutting inside from the 22 and racing through. Bourdon converted once more.

Scotland started the second half brightly, but France hit them with two quick tries to take the wind out of their sails.

First Coudert set up Vernier for her hat-trick, this time with a grubber, before Boujard got on the end of a counter-attacking score for try number six.

The floodgates could have opened but Scotland tightened things up and go on the board once more when Wassell powered over from close range after a five-metre lineout.

France were not done though, Camille Imart coming on and finding Jason out wide with a pinpoint cross-kick to leave the simplest of finishes.

The victory moves France up to second in the table as they prepare for trips to Ireland and Italy to round off the competition.


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