The epilogue of the 2021 Women's VI Nations Tournament, postponed to the spring and reshuffled because of Covid, takes place this Saturday in London.
Better structured, the English, No. 1 in the world rankings, are largely favorites of this crunch.
They remain on seven successes in a row against the XV of France.
In these times of Covid-19, the Women's VI Nations Tournament may be shifted, its formula modified, the observation does not change: England and France crush the other teams. After strolling in their respective pools, scoring more than 50 points in each match, the two teams meet in the final, this Saturday (3 p.m.) at the Stoop in London, in front of the cameras of France 2.
“Today, English women are the best in the world,” assures Samuel Cherouk.
To beat them, you have to get closer to their structures.
The coach of the Blue does not flatter (only) the girls of the Rose to take the pressure off his players.
The observation is relentless: the teammates of the center Emily Scarratt, captain at 94 caps, have won the last seven "crunches", including the two test matches last November, in Grenoble (10-33) then in Twickenham on a penalty at the last minute (25-23).
England remain on two Grand Slams
Equipped with a formidable pack, especially on a carried ball, the English women lead the global ranking, just ahead of the New Zealand women who dominated them in the 2017 World Cup final (the French are fourth).
And they remain on two Grand Slams in the Tournament.
Under professional status, the players coached by Simon Middleton benefit from almost ideal conditions, recalled by Samuel Cherouk.
“They are called on Monday morning and leave on Wednesday evening.
By spending three days together a week, 45 weeks a year, it's easier.
Their clubs are also concentrated around London, which makes it easier to get together.
The Blue, scattered in Montpellier, Toulouse, Blagnac, Bayonne or Rennes, do not really live next to Marcoussis.
And the Elite 1 remains a very perfectible competition, to handle understatement.
“Tightening up the championship would perhaps make it possible to 'match' at the international level against the big teams that are New Zealand and England, slips the heeler Agathe Sochat.
The FFR is working on it.
A French championship to review
The formula for this season, with four pools from four teams, followed by play-off and play-down then final stages, was frozen for nearly three months by the Covid, before resuming at the end of January.
It leads to often large scores, with frequent walks for Montpellier de Sochat (triple defending champion), Stade Toulousain, Blagnac or the Auvergnates de Romagnat.
Conversely, "the English championship has not moved for years, and the matches are very involved", observes Samuel Cherouk.
Since 2017, the Allianz Premier 15s brings together ten professional teams, while the French are semi-pro or amateur.
Elite 1 will be tightened next season, with a drop from 16 to 12 teams.
Not sure that's enough to hit the British anytime soon.
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XV of France