...Ireland centre Lynne Cantwell...
Ireland gave it everything but ultimately came up short as France fired seven tries past them for a 43-0 win on the opening day of the 2006 IRB Women's World Cup in Edmonton.
2006 IRB WOMEN'S WORLD CUP:
IRELAND 0 FRANCE 43, St. Albert RFC, Edmonton
Scorers: Ireland: -
France: Tries: Catherine Devillers 3, Estelle Sartini, Corinne Devroute, Christelle Le Duff, Delphine Plantet; Cons: Sartini 2, Le Duff 2
Philip Doyle's Irish side turned in a gritty performance over night, but a lack of clinicism saw them cough up four try-scoring chances.
As ever, team captain Sarahjane Belton and Tania Rosser directed matters at half-back, yet the talented duo could not penetrate the French defensive wall.
Munster out-half Belton said afterwards: "We fought right to the end. That's kind of a characteristic of our team - we don't give up and we never have given up and never will.
"We'll always fight to the bitter end, especially in this competition. Every point counts but unfortunately, we came up against a very good French side who took their chances when they came."
The French, the World Cup's third seeds, have been something of a bogey team for the girls in green. Since 2004, Ireland have lost all three of their Six Nations games against France, scoring only five points and conceding 88 points in the process.
In windy conditions at St. Albert RFC, the French continued that trend and went 17-0 up before the interval with experienced winger Catherine Devillers touching down twice.
She skated in at the right corner just before the break to deliver a cutting blow to Ireland's chances as Doyle's girls had been on top for long spells - as typified by prop Fiona Coghlan's inspiring 20-metre dart through midfield.
The Irish twice had chances to hit back early in the second half, with the pack camped near the French line, but a try from French substitute Corinne Devroute, 18 minutes in, saw their defence split open again.
A sin-binning for Leinster lock Caroline Mahon, ten minutes later, was a deflating blow for Ireland, who can count themselves unfortunate to have seen full-back Christelle Le Duff, Devillers and number 8 Delphine Plantet take the French try tally to a flattering seven.
Though Belton and company, who arrived in Canada off the back of a first ever defeat of Scotland, will undoubtedly bounce back for what was always a must-win game against the USA on Monday.
Ireland: Joanne O'Sullivan; Jeanette Feighery, Lynne Cantwell, Grace Davitt, Nuala Ni Chadhain; Sarahjane Belton (capt), Tania Rosser; Fiona Coghlan, Jean Lonergan, Marie Barrett, Germaine Healy, Caroline Mahon, Eimear O'Sullivan, Rachel Boyd, Joy Neville.
Replacements used: Orla Brennan for Boyd (30 minutes), Yvonne Nolan for Lonergan, Rosie Foley for Healy (both 53), Gillian McAllister for Barrett (56), Shannon Houston for Davitt (67), Amanda Greensmith for Ni Chadhain, Louise Beamish for Rosser (both 72).
France: Christelle Le Duff; Catherine Devillers, Lucie Elodie, Dalila Boukerma, Marion Talayrach; Estelle Sartini (capt), Julie Pujol; Daniele Irazu, Laetitia Salles, Fanny Gelis, Maylis Bonnin, Clotilde Flaugere, Aline Sagols, Sandrine Jaureguiberry, Delphine Plantet.
Replacements used: Corinne Devroute for Jaureguiberry (50 minutes), Rosa Marce for Gelis (59), Fanny Horta for Elodie (61), Claire Canal for Bonnin (62), Celine Allainmat for Sartini, Stephanie Provost for Pujol (both 70), Clemence Ollivier for Salles (72).
Referee: Jenny Bental (South Africa)