Audrey Forlani

Forlani backing France to embrace change ahead of TikTok Women’s Six Nations

By James Reid

New France captain Audrey Forlani is confident her new look side won’t be phased by a changing of the guard ahead of the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations.

It has been all change for Les Bleues, with coach Annick Hayraud replaced by Gaelle Mignot and David Ortiz, while Safi N’Diaye, Celine Ferrer, and 2022 Player of the Championship Laure Sansus have all retired.

The biggest change though has been for Forlani herself who has been catapulted into the captaincy in place of Gaelle Hermet, despite being left out of the World Cup squad last autumn, but the second row is confident of a strong showing from the reigning runners-up.

She said: “It wasn’t easy not to be part of the team but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

“I have worked even harder since I was appointed captain of the team and I think it has been quite an achievement for me.

“I don’t feel any pressure at all because we have new players in the squad, and they will be giving it their all. We will be taking each match as it comes and enjoying the games.

“We will miss them, they have had great careers, but the new players will be doing their best to move us forward as a team.”

Six Nations Rugby, the official organising body responsible for the TikTok Women’s Six Nations, broke all fan engagement records in 2022 and highlighted its commitment to giving the women’s game the best possible platform to grow.

The 2023 edition of the Championship stands to build on this progress, with even bigger crowds expected, more international broadcasters covering all the action and unprecedented social and digital promotion for the heroes of the women’s game.

There are further absences in the form of 2022 Team of the Championship member Madoussou Fall, who is injured, and fly-half Caroline Drouin who is focusing on Sevens.

With those absences come plenty of new faces including Sevens star Lilou Graciet, and Morgane Bourgeois, while Lea Champon and Ambre Mwayembe will be pushing for a start in the pack.

There are some familiar faces, though, with Jessy Tremouliere staying on until the end of the 2023 Championship before hanging up her boots.

And while all eyes may be on a potential Championship decider against England at Twickenham, Forlani is not looking beyond their opener against Italy on 26 March.

“She [Tremouliere] has had an incredible career, a great record and we will miss her but we are going to make sure she finishes with a flourish,” added Forlani.

“We are building our team, we have new staff on board – slowly does it as we move forward. 

“Italy will be a first tough match, but I think we have all the ingredients that we need to succeed.

“It [playing against England at Twickenham] will be an amazing match of course but we are going to take our time and play one match at a time before we get to it.”

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