French Willemse in doubt for Japan tour with knee injury

Back row Paul Willemse is in doubt for France’s July Japan tour after his club Montpellier announced Tuesday that he will be out for two months with knee injury.

Willemse, 29, was injured in Saturday’s Top 14 defeat to Lyon and will miss for the remainder of the leaders’ domestic campaign, which includes this weekend’s European Cup quarter-finals in La Rochelle.

France, recently winners of the Six Nations Grand Slam, will face the Brave Blossoms on 2 July in Aichi, a week after the French Top 14 final.

The second and final test is on July 9 in Tokyo.

“He has a medial lateral ligament injury in his knee,” Montpellier said.

“We estimate his downtime is eight weeks.

“He will finish the season with the medical service and will remain with the team to support his teammates at home,” added the club.

Montpellier is already without South Africa Rugby World Cup winner Cobus Reinach after the scrum-half underwent shoulder surgery last week.

The French Rugby Federation has yet to announce whether the participants in the Top 14 final will also head to Japan.

Last season, the players of the championship semi-finalists were unable to participate in the three Les Bleus tests in Australia due to the COVID-19 quarantine rules.

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