France women qualify for Rugby League World Cup

France women overcame 38 degree heat and high humidity at the FC Radnicki Stadium in Belgrade to top group B and qualify for the 2026 Rugby League World Cup in the southern hemisphere. It will be the fourth time they have appeared in the global tournament.

 

France women’s head coach, Romain Maillot, commented: “We needed to adapt to the weather conditions but showed very well that we could. I’m happy because we qualified for the next World Cup, but I think we can improve a lot of things and learn from this game, but this was our primary objective and we have achieved it, I could not be happier with the girls and their application.”

 

His side got off to the perfect start, prop Perrine Monsarrat crashing over in the opening exchanges and they were well ahead at half time. Catalans centre Cristina Song-Puche posted three of their ten tries, with Lisa Diraison landing nine of ten goal attempts.

 

The speed of winger Perle Ramazeilles and power of prop Haoua Kessely, who both crossed twice, were too much for the hosts to handle.

 

Serbia were much improved from their only previous meeting with the French and were unlucky not to register a score to illustrate that.

 

“I am proud of our girls who gave their best,” said women’s head coach, Slobodan Manak. “We had a lot of problems before the match due to injuries, but we fought whole 80 minutes against one of the best women’s teams in Europe. Congratulations to France on the victory and qualification to the World Cup.”

 

Greece finish runners up in the group and will now face Ireland in a European eliminator play off later in the year to determine the qualifiers for the 2025 World Series repechage.

 

SERBIA 0

 

Tamara Bosnjak, Teodora Micic, Sanja Starcevic, Marija Stojsic, Anastasija Karanovic, Ljiljana Bajic, Katarina Veljanovski, Natalija Simic, Natasa Kovacevic, Teodora Marin, Mihaela Markicevic, Anna Liuter, Marija Maslakovic

Subs: Marija Simovic, Milica Cvijetanovic, Nika Bajic, Uma Cengaj

 

FRANCE 58

 

Manon Samarra, Chahrazad Himoudi, Cristina Song-Puche, Amael Vilanove, Perle Ramazeilles, Justine Roses, Lisa Diraison, Haoua Kessely, Mahault Pommier, Perrine Monsarrat, Ines Legout, Dorine Samarra, Leila Bessahli

Subs : Noemie Samuel, Salome Segala, Pauline Noe, Tallis Kuresa

 

Tries: Monsarrat (4), Song-Puche (7, 17, 54), Kessely (11, 68), Ramazeilles (23, 38), Samarra (62), Roses (75)

Goals: Diraison 9/10

 

Referee: Jaroslav Bzoch (Czechia)

 

Half Time: 0-34