Source: Hagen Hopkins - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Canada v France – a Preview

  • +1

A recent presentation by French rugby is most revealing. It is entitled ‘Future under Construction’. So it confirms the management’s policy of taking the strategic view. Their eyes are set firmly on the next World Cup and are willing to accept bumps in the road ahead.

The first big bump was the loss to Australia. That may or may not have been a possibility that crossed their minds. I suspect it wasn’t.

The Maple Leafs’ record against France, though limited in numbers, gives cause for optimism; they are quite used to beating them. But that record depended largely on times long past, when teams gathered regularly in North America for out-of-season series.

This time round Les Bleues enter the ring as firm favourites. Full teams are listed below.


Kevin Rouet has left his splendid pack well alone, but made changes out behind. Justine Pelletier partners Julia Schell at half-back, Fancy Bermudez replaces Shoshanah Seumanutafa in the centre and Krissy Scurfield takes over on the left wing. Laetitia Royer’s return from injury strengthens the forwards off the bench.


The three French selectors – add Sylvain Mirande to the co-coaches – have made wholesale changes to their line-up. This tallies with their overall strategy of preparing every player for the different demands of starting and finishing a game.

The one enforced absence is Madoussou Fall who has cruelly suffered a broken leg only shortly after returning from an earlier injury. Audrey Forlani, so recently the captain, takes her place alongside the her replacement, Manae Feleu. In front of them an entirely new front row. The expected return of Gabrielle Vernier to the centre forces Marine Ménager to the wing.

Only France can equal England in changing a team so drastically while retaining so much experience and quality. That is the effect of a buoyant league set-up. The prospective debutant is the 18-year-old Kiara Zago, who is the same height as Fall, so will provide a useful presence if needed.


Canada: 1 McKinley Hunt, 2 Emily Tuttosi, 3 DaLeaka Menin, 4 Tyson Beukeboom, 5 Courtney Holtkamp, 6 Gabrielle Senft, 7 Sara Svoboda, 8 Sophie de Goede (captain), 9 Justine Pelletier, 10 Julia Schell, 11 Krissy Scurfield, 12 Alexandra Tessier, 13 Fancy Bermudez, 14 Paige Farries, 15 Sarah-Maude Lachance

Bench: 16 Gillian Boag, 17 Brittany Kassil, 18 Alex Ellis, 19 Laetitia Royer, 20 *Julia Omokhuale, 21 Olivia Apps, 22 Shoshanah Seumanutafa, 23. Florence Symonds

France: 15 Morgane Bourgeois , 14 Marine Ménager, 13 Nassira Kondé 12 Gabrielle Vernier, 11 Émilie Boulard, 10 Lina Queyroi, 9 Pauline Bourdon-Sansus, 1 Ambre Mwayembe, 2 Laure Touyé, 3 Assia Khalfaoui, 4 Manae Feleu (captain), 5 Audrey Forlani, 6 Emeline Gros, 7 Gaëlle Hermet, 8 Charlotte Escudero

Bench: 16 Elisa Riffonneau, 17 Coco Lindelauf 18 Yllana Brosseau, 19 *Kiara Zago, 20 Léa Champon, 21 Alex Chambon, 22 Carla Arbez, 23 Caroline Boujard

Match Details

4 November, Go Media Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland; KO 16.00 (local time), 03.00 (UK time) – a challenging hour for European viewers.