Rugby World Cup: Hosts France lose another player in build-up to opener against All Blacks

Hosts France have been dealt another injury blow, with lock Paul Willemse reportedly dropping out of their Rugby World Cup squad with a thigh injury, a week before their tournament opener.

The South African-born second-row has been replaced by Bastien Chalureau, with Willemse placed on a standby list, should his injury settle and another change be needed during the tournament.

Chalureau made his France debut last November and has six caps, the most recent in the 34-17 warm-up win over Fiji last month.

Paul Willemse in action for France.
Paul Willemse in action for France. Photo credit: Getty Images

Willemse was to be a key part of France's bid to win a first World Cup and is not their only significant injury in the build-up to the tournament, which they start against New Zealand on September 9 (NZ time) at Paris.

First-choice flyhalf Romain Ntamack ruptured cruciate knee ligaments in a warm-up game against Scotland and is out of the tournament, while prop Cyril Baille and powerful centre Jonathan Danty will miss their Pool A opener at the very least.

France also face Italy, Uruguay and Namibia in their pool. 


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