France’s Rugby World Cup campaign has been hit with yet another setback as lock Paul Willemse has suffered an injury. This adds to the list of players who have been ruled out of the tournament due to injuries leading up to the event.
The first blow came when first-choice fly-half Romain Ntamack ruptured his cruciate ligaments in a warm-up match against Scotland, making him unavailable for the entire competition. Following that, loosehead prop Cyril Baille was ruled out of the opening match against the All Blacks due to an injury sustained in the same game.
In their final warm-up match against Australia, star centre Jonathan Danty suffered a hamstring injury, forcing him to miss the clash against New Zealand as well. Now, there are reports that Willemse may also be ruled out for the entire tournament, further adding to France’s injury concerns.
According to reports, Willemse sustained the injury while following the training program given by the coaches during the break before the tournament. It is worth noting that he has previously had trouble with the same thigh, experiencing several muscle injuries over the past year. This limited his playing time for Montpellier last season and caused him to miss France’s November internationals.
The French team will regroup in Paris on Saturday ahead of the tournament opener the following Friday. Willemse’s situation will be closely monitored, and if he is unable to participate, Bastien Chalureau is likely to be his replacement in the 33-man squad. In terms of lock options against the All Blacks, contenders include Cameron Woki, Romain Taofifenua, and Thibaud Flament.
France’s Pool A fixtures for the Rugby World Cup include matches against New Zealand, Uruguay, Namibia, and Italy.