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Optimism is high that the French Women’s team will make the finals of this year’s World Cup. “Les Bleus” have finished third four times, and fourth once in the six tournaments, but they never made a final appearance. As the host nation for the 2014 WRWC, and with a Grand Slam championship in the recent Six Nations Tournament, the team is at its peak to advance.

Historically, France have winning records against all teams except New Zealand (0-4) and traditional rival, England (10-24). And in this year’s Six Nations, it went 5-0, recording three shutouts. Victories, from the start to the end, went as follows: England 18-6. Italy 29-0, Wales 27-0, Scotland 69-0, and, finally, a close 19-15 win against Ireland, 2013’s champion.

In addition, the French have won easy prep matches against Spain and South Africa.

Much of the success for the team can be traced to the superb training facilities at the Centre National de Rugby at Marcoussis, where the initial stages matches will all be played. The team is composed of backs with speed, and a solid pack that excels at winning line outs.

Will the home field advantage and the cheers of the national crowd impel these women to win the Cup?

Pool: Australia, Wales, and South Africa.