Source: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

France still experimenting – Lisa Thomson turns fifty

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The French co-coaches have announced this squad to face Scotland in Vannes, Brittany in Round Three on Sunday:

15 Emilie Boulard, 14 Caroline Boujard 13 Marine Ménager, 12 Gabrielle Vernier 11 Mélissande Llorens 10 Jessy Trémoulière 9 Pauline Bourdon 1 Ylana Brosseau 2 Agathe Sochat 3 Assia Khalfaoui 4 Maëlle Picut 5 Audrey Forlani (captain) 6 Axelle Berthoumieu 7 Gaëlle Hermet 8 Charlotte Escudero


16 Elisa Riffoneau 17 *Ambre Mwayembe 18 Rose Bernadou 19 Romane Ménager 20 Julie Annery 21 Alexandra Chambon 22 Carla Arbez 23 Maëlle Filopon

Bryan Easson is the last of the six head coaches to reveal his line-up:


15. Chloe Rollie, 14. Liz Musgrove, 13. Emma Orr, 12. Lisa Thomson, 11. Francesca McGhie, 10. Helen Nelson, 9. Caity Mattinson, 1. Leah Bartlett, 2. Lana Skeldon, 3. Christine Belisle, 4. Lyndsay O’Donnell, 5. Louise McMillan, 6. Rachel Malcolm (captain), 7. Evie Gallagher, 8. Jade Konkel-Roberts


16. Jodie Rettie, 17. Anne Young, 18. Elliann Clarke, 19. Eva Donaldson, 20. Rachel McLachlan, 21. Mairi McDonald, 22. Meryl Smith, 23. Coreen Grant

Two big pieces of news: at last Jade Konkel-Roberts returns to duty, and Lisa Thomson celebrates her 50th cap. She has been let off the leash by GB Sevens, which is excellent news for the Scots. Evie Gallagher shifts to the flank to make room for JK-R.

Easson wants to see his side sharpening their touch near the enemy line: that has been a recurrent shortcoming in their play.

They will need all the luck going their way as they face another stern test away from home. Let’s hope the phrase ‘damage limitation’ doesn’t pass any commentator’s lips.

The French Viewpoint

With all due respect to the Scots, we can be sure the 23 Mignot and Ortiz have chosen remains a distance from the ideal side they would pick to face England in a fortnight.

Lots of changes again. Maëlle Picut replaces the injured Manae Feleu in the second row; Emeline Gros gives way to Gaëlle Hermet on the flank, and crucially Jessy Trémoulière reappears at No 10 to partner Pauline Bourdon in a canny half-back partnership.

Maëlle Filopon returns from injury, but only as far as the bench, so the younger Ménager remains next to Gabi Vernier in midfield. Big sister also makes a cautious return, the highly promising Charlotte Escudero retained at No 8.

Annaelle Dehayes is still sitting out three games after her red card.