Terry Bouhraoua makes a timely return from injury to lead France to the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens (RWC7s) in San Francisco. Montserratt Amédée, who has been consistent all season, leads the women’s charge as the stars of French Rugby aim to shine at the Pinnacle Event for World Rugby.
Over the last week, both sides watched France claim their second FIFA Football World Cup, and will no doubt be boosted to defy the odds, in their own sport.
16 Women’s and 24 Men’s sides will compete for the coveted trophy; currently both held by New Zealand. Although with every game a knockout, this new format that will please some and leave others complaining. If France are positive, retain high motivation and team spirit, then they can determine their own futures.
French flair may upset some at RWC7s
French flair will definitely be needed if the French want to mount a decent challenge against the big guns. The women’s side is full of experience, with some rookies to compliment the group.
Coach: David Courteix | Captain: Fanny Horta | Twitter handle: @FFRugby
RWC Sevens best result: Plate semi-finalists 2009
HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2018 final placing: 3
Montserratt Amédée, together with Camille Grassineau and Lina Guerin will need to be on their toes in every game, if France are to exceed their seeding of sixth. The hugely experienced Fanny Horta adds her leadership, with Marjorie Mayans and Chloe Pelle bringing the solidity needed.
Shannon Izar, Caroline Drouin and Coraile Betrand add flair that could break the hearts of competitors in the crucial, winner-takes-all games.
The French women may have the right mix. Youth and experience. How successful they will be though, is up to the seven players on AT&T Park.
On the other hand, the Men’s side is full of youth. Tavite Veredamu adds the Fijian flair – as France will be missing after Virimi Vakatawa. There are a few players unlucky to miss the cut, but the French men will give their all like always.
Coach: Jérôme Daret | Captain: Manoël Dall’Igna | Twitter handle: @FFRugby
RWC Sevens best result: Quarter-finalists 1997, 2005 and 2013
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018 final ranking: 13th
Veredamu on song can spark the French, but they really need him to turn the breaks he makes, into points. Bouhraoua and Raphael Lakafia bring experience that can change games in an instant, and will steady the nerves of some of the young men involved.
The ‘flying’ Stephen Parez (see main picture) and elegant runners like Paulin Riya and Paul Bonnefond will need to be as elusive as ever. That will be from the first game, up against Jamaica, before they can enter the ’round of 16′ (in the new tournament format).
RWC7s pick: Jean Pascal Barraque the one to watch for the French. The La Rochelle player is versatile and could be the game maker which France require, to match the likes of a Scott Curry or Madison Hughes.
Rugby World Cup Sevens; the Verdict
Consistency and a lack of execution is both French teams’ biggest enemy. If both of these two sides show up, it will be a great weekend in San Francisco for both teams.
The women’s side reached their first final this season (in Kitakyushu) and know reached a higher level in 2018. Many of the girls know what it takes to get there. They have a good side that will challenge the best-of-the-best in the world. On the other hand, their Men’s team must display consistency – in both discipline, defence and in using their rugby-smarts. With self-belief, and with improved confidence, Les Bleus could mirror the success of their football team. Well, it is a ‘football’ field.
Aleez Aleez Les Bleus
“Main photo credit”
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