France Women beat South Africa in Rugby world cup 2022
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Women’s Rugby World Cup 2022: France Thrashed South Africa in opening game

Star scrum-half Laure Sansus crossed twice as France beat a stubborn South Africa 40-5 in the opening match of the women’s Rugby World Cup in Auckland on Saturday.

Sansus and fly-half Caroline Drouin shone for the French, who raced 19-0 clear inside the first quarter at Eden Park but only made the game safe with three tries inside the final 15 minutes.

France Women beat South Africa in Rugby world cup 2022
Photo: France Women beat South Africa in Rugby world cup 2022

France are among the leading contenders to win the ninth edition of the tournament, which opened under sunny skies for the first leg of a triple-header.

While the stadium was barely half full for the opening game, numbers were expected to build through the day.

Tournament favourites England were to play Fiji next up before hosts New Zealand faced Australia in front of a likely capacity crowd of 40,000 — which would be a world-record audience for a women’s rugby Test.

France had to work harder than expected to see off the South Africans, who they had beaten by an average margin of 45 points in their three previous meetings.

Elusive runner Sansus, who was named player of the tournament in this year’s European Six Nations, broke clear to score in the second minute.

The classy Drouin set up the second try with a chip which was gathered superbly by centre Gabrielle Vernier before French winger Emilie Boulard raced 45m for the third via an intercept.

World 11th-ranked South Africa had the better of the middle stages, despite a yellow card shown to flanker Sizophila Solontsi.

Their physicality set up a 60th-minute try to winger Nomawethu Mabenge, prompting France to regather.

Sansus crashed over for her second score before Drouin put her touch on the closing stages.

She crossed for a try herself and then set up a last-gasp five-pointer for winger Joanna Grisez through another pinpoint tactical kick.

Press Release, Source: AFP

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