Romain Ntamack has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup due to a serious knee injury, in a major blow to France’s title prospects.
The fly-half sustained a ruptured ACL while attempting to tackle Finn Russell in the 30-27 Summer Nations Series win against Scotland on Saturday night, with scans on Monday confirming initial fears.
With a standard recovery time of nine months, it is likely the playmaker will also miss France’s 2024 Guinness Six Nations campaign.
It is a cruel blow for Ntamack, who has been France’s starting fly-half for much of this World Cup cycle, and helped to establish them as one of the pre-tournament favourites on home soil.
The 24-year-old started every game of Les Bleus’ historic Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam success in 2022, and then again earlier this year as France finished second in the table to Ireland.
Ntamack scored one try in the 32-21 victory against Scotland, and then excelled in their record 53-10 win against England at Twickenham in Round 4, as he underlined his status as one of the best No.10s in the world.
France will now look to Matthieu Jalibert to fill the void, as they prepare for their first match of a home World Cup against New Zealand on September 8.
France have also been hit by an injury to prop Cyril Baille, who suffered a right calf strain in Saint-Etienne and will be out for six weeks.
He should return for France’s final pool match against Italy on October 6. Uncapped Thomas Laclayat has been called into the squad.