France star Romain Ntamack out of Rugby World Cup

Romain Ntamack’s absence will be a huge blow for France

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France have suffered a major blow ahead of the Rugby World Cup with star fly half Romain Ntamack set to be ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury.

Ntamack limped out of the World Cup hosts’ warm-up game against Scotland in Saint-Etienne on Saturday.

Reports in France suggest that the Toulouse playmaker has torn his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), ending his hopes of featuring on home soil this autumn.

“I’ll be back,” Ntamack posted on social media.

Bordeaux-Begles fly half Matthieu Jalibert offers a high class back-up option for France, while Antoine Hastoy, who won the Champions Cup with La Rochelle earlier this year, is the other specialist fly half in Fabien Galthie’s World Cup training squad and likely to make the final 33. Full back Thomas Ramos and scrum half Antoine Dupont can also cover No 10 if required.


But Ntamack’s injury is a major blow for the hosts ahead of the tournament, with the 24-year-old firmly established as Galthie’s first-choice fly half over the last few years, starting every game of last year’s Six Nations as France secured a grand slam.

France begin their World Cup campaign against New Zealand in an eagerly-anticipated opening night fixture in Paris on 8 September. They also face Italy, Uruguay and Namibia in Pool A at the tournament.

Galthie had expressed his hope that Ntamack’s injury was not severe after the narrow victory over Scotland on Saturday.

“Romain underwent a small hyper-extension of the knee,” the France head coach said. “We preferred to take him out of the game so there could be no further damage.”

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