France have been dealt a major injury blow ahead of their Rugby World Cup opener against New Zealand on September 8, with centre Jonathan Danty set to miss the clash.
The centre has been a key cog in Fabien Galthie’s side but looks set to be without his services against the All Blacks.
Danty a doubt for World Cup opener
According to multiple reports in France, Danty has a hamstring issue that will not rule him out of the entire tournament but will likely see him miss the tournament opener.
The 30-year-old scored a try in France’s final warm-up game before the tournament against Australia as the hosts claimed a 41-17 victory.
However, it was there that he sustained the injury that has put him in doubt, with one report stating that he will be sidelined for two weeks.
The clash against New Zealand falls in the tail-end of that period, opening the door for his potential inclusion, which would run the risk of the burly centre aggravating the injury.
The 23-Test cap midfielder has regularly combined with Gael Fickou in a formidable centre pairing that helped the side seal a Six Nations Grand Slam last year. They were also the starting pair when France defeated New Zealand 40-25 in November.
In France’s last 20 Test matches, Danty has been the starter number 12 on 13 occasions. Les Bleus have won all 13 of those games.
Danty’s injury comes after Romain Ntamack ruptured cruciate ligaments, which ruled him out of the World Cup.
The La Rochelle man is likely to join prop Cyril Baille, who is also set to miss the opener due to a calf injury.
When Danty missed the opening three matches of the 2023 Six Nations, it was Yoram Moefana who replaced him at inside centre.
The Bordeaux midfielder is one of the front runners to fill the void if Danty is not fit for the clash.
Meanwhile, Arthur Vincent has also been included in the squad after a torrid run of injuries. He played at outside centre along with Danty against Fiji.
His inclusion could see Fickou move into the number 12 jersey, something he is more than capable of doing.
The article France dealt a hammer blow as star man ruled out of Rugby World Cup opener – reports appeared first on Planetrugby.com.