Scrumhalf Antoine Dupont has been ruled out of France’s Six Nations campaign, while flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert and No 8 Kevin Gourdon also face lengthy injury layoffs.
Following his side’s agonising 15-13 defeat to Ireland, things went from bad to worse for new coach Jacques Brunel, who will now have to make do without three key players.
Dupont came on to the field for a nine-minute cameo in the second half, before sustaining an injury to his anterior cruciate knee ligament. France have confirmed that the scrumhalf will be out of action for the rest of the European season.
The 19-year-old Jalibert, who made his debut in the match, was also forced to leave the field after 30 minutes due to a knee injury, which is likely to rule him out for the remainder of the Six Nations.
‘He will be out for a minimum of one month, perhaps two,’ Brunel said of Jalibert.
Meanwhile, Gourdon will be sidelined for up to a month after twisting his ankle against Ireland. However, he is only likely to miss the Tests against Scotland and Italy.
‘It’s a slight hammer blow, but the competition continues,’ said Brunel. ‘You have to get up, revive the spirits a bit and start tomorrow. The tournament does not allow us to dwell on the past. We must try to move forward quickly.’
No replacements have been announced, but the injuries could mean a return to the squad for scrumhalf Serin Bapiste, flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc and No 8 Louis Picamoles.
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