France lock Paul Willemse has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after his club Montpellier announced he will be sidelined for two months with knee damage.
The 29-year-old was injured in Saturday’s Top 14 loss to Lyon and will miss for the rest of the league leaders’ domestic campaign, which includes this weekend’s European Champions Cup quarter-final at La Rochelle.
France, the Six Nations Grand Slam winners, face the Brave Blossoms on July 2 in Aichi, a week after the French Top 14 final. The second and last Test is on July 9 in Tokyo.
“He is suffering from a tear of the medial lateral ligament in the knee,” Montpellier said on Tuesday. “We estimate his unavailability to be eight weeks.
“He will finish the season with the medical service and will stay with the squad to support his team-mates on the home stretch,” they added.
Montpellier are already without South Africa’s Rugby World Cup winner Cobus Reinach after the scrum-half underwent shoulder surgery last week.
The French Rugby Federation have yet to announce if those involved in the Top 14 final will also to head to Japan.
Last season, players from the league’s semi-finalists were unable to participate in Les Bleus’ three Tests in Australia due to Covid-19 quarantine rules.
© Agence France-Presse