As a result of an injury to their fly-half Romain Ntamack, France have been dealt a big blow leading up to their World Cup campaign. Fabien Galthié’s side are among the favourites for the title, but Ntamack is a key player on his team and his absence will be felt keenly.
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Ntamack was withdrawn from France’s dramatic 30-27 win over Scotland on Saturday, and subsequent scans revealed the injury was much worse than initially believed.
Prior to France confirming that he would miss the tournament due to ruptured ACL, the 24-year-old tweeted simply “I’ll be back”. According to the French Rugby Federation, Galthié’s loosehead prop Cyrill Baille will also be sidelined for five to six weeks with a calf injury.
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Since the last World Cup in Japan, Ntamack has become France’s leading fly-half and he featured in all of Les Tricolores’ 2022 Six Nations grand slam success. His unavailability disrupts his joint venture with scrum-half and Toulouse teammate Antoine Dupont and Galthié has a major reorganisation to carry out when he declares the squad next week. Mathieu Jalibert is the most likely choice to take on the No 10 shirt, but Galthié could opt to shift Thomas Ramos from full-back or go with Antoine Hastoy.
There has been much upheaval at fly-half in France, but not the only side. The world No 1s Ireland have been without Johnny Sexton during their warm-up campaign due to suspension while Owen Farrell is expected to receive a ban on Tuesday that will keep him out of England’s tournament.