France scored nine tries during a crushing 55-0 victory over Scotland to make it three successive wins in the Women’s Six Nations.
After a well-contested first period, which saw France go into the break 17-0 up courtesy of Pauline Bourdon, Mélissande Llorens and Emilie Boulard, the hosts ran riot in the second half thanks to two more tries from Boulard alongside efforts from Gaëlle Hermet, Gabrielle Vernier, Romane Ménager and Maëlle Filopon.
The hosts thought they had scored the opening try just five minutes in when Charlotte Escudero crashed over but it was ruled out after Bourdon was adjudged to have supplied a forward pass in the build-up.
It did not take long for France to finally have their opener after a series of passes allowed Bourdon to race over the line but Jessy Trémoulière missed the kick.
Llorens helped to double the French lead before they scored a third try just before half-time in similar fashion to the first as France released Boulard to score.
The second-half French procession got under way six minutes after the interval when Boulard touched down for her second before Hermet collected a pass from Llorens to put them 29-0 up.
Two tries in two minutes from Vernier and Boulard, for her hat-trick, put France out of sight before tries from Ménager and Filopon rounded off the scoring to condemn Scotland to their third straight loss while France leapfrog Wales and move to within a point of England.
England kept their Grand Slam hopes on track on Saturday with a 59-3 bonus-point victory over Wales at a sold-out Cardiff Arms Park, where the hosts celebrated a record 8,862 attendance for a women’s home match.
The four-time defending champions’ strength in depth was on full display on an afternoon that saw each of the Red Roses’ nine tries come through different scorers.
Lucy Packer, Tatyana Heard, Abigail Dow, Holly Aitchison, Jess Breach, Ellie Kildunne, Maud Muir, Hannah Botterman and Sarah Beckett all touched down for the visitors, with Emma Sing and Lagi Tuima adding seven conversions between them.
England were favourites to make it three wins from three in this season’s Six Nations but it was Wales, who had also won both of their first two matches, who opened the scoring after an electric start when Keira Bevan slotted over a penalty.
However, they proved to be Wales’s only points of the game as England hit back in emphatic fashion.
The Red Roses took the lead in the 26th minute when Dow broke down the left and crossed into the hosts’ 22 before being brought down just shy of the try line, but Packer was able to scoop up the ball from the ensuing breakdown and twist over the line.
Heard helped make it 12-3 before an exquisite pass from Aitchison set Dow up on a fine run from midfield, the Harlequins winger crossing the whitewash on the 40-minute mark before Sing’s conversion left the resilient hosts – who had enjoyed both a possession and territorial advantage – trailing 19-3 at the break.
Aitchison quickly added her name to the list of England’s try-scorers to secure the bonus point after the restart, when the floodgates firmly opened for the Red Roses who – despite going down to 13 women after May Campbell and Marlie Packer were sent to the sin bin in the 67th minute – went on to complete a comprehensive victory.