Injury to South African lock a major setback for France at the RWC

Injury to South African lock a major setback for France at the RWC

France’s chances of winning the Rugby World Cup for the first time were dealt a devastating blow.During their pre-World Cup friendly rugby union international encounter on August 19, 2023 at The Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes, western France, French locks Paul Willemse (TOP) and Florian Verhaeghe (FRONT) make a tackle on Fijian number eight Viliame Mata (C). (Image by AFP / LOIC VENANCE)

France Rugby has confirmed Willemse’s absence from the tournament.

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The lock was hurt during the team’s pregame warmup while they were on break before the big game.

Sadly, Paul Willemse gets left out.

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The thigh issue that has plagued Willemse in previous years has flared up again.

Muscular issues have plagued him for the past year, limiting him to just ten appearances for Montpellier in the Top 14 last season and keeping him out of France’s November internationals.

The participants will reconvene in Paris on Saturday ahead of the tournament’s Friday start.

Willemse’s spot on the 33-man roster has been filled by Montpellier teammate Bastien Chalureau.

France’s World Cup Rugby Team of 2023


C. Baille, Cyril (29, Toulouse).

Toulon’s 24-year-old Jean-Baptiste Gros

La Rochelle native Reda Wardi, age 28.


Dorian Aldegheri, age 30 (Tours, France).

La Rochelle native Uini Atonio, 33, has been arrested.

26-year-old Bordeaux-Bègles native Sipili Falatea


25-year-old Pierre Bourgarit of La Rochelle

27-year-old Toulon native Julien Marchand

26-year-old Toulon native Peato Mauvaka


26-year-old Thibaud Flament of Toulouse

A 32-year-old native of Lyon, France named Romain Taofifenua

31-year-old Montpellier native Bastien Chalureau

24 year old Cameron Woki of Racing 92


26-year-old La Rochelle native Grégory Alldritt

23-year-old Paul Boudehent of La Rochelle

François Cros, age 29 (from Toulouse).

Originally from Toulouse, 27-year-old Anthony Jelonch

Stade Français’ 28-year-old Sekou Macalou.

The age-30 Toulon native Charles Ollivon


26-year-old Baptiste Couilloud of Lyon

Antoine Dupont, a 26-year-old captain from Toulouse.

Thirty-year-old Maxime Lucu of Bordeaux-Bègles


26-year-old Antoine Hastoy of La Rochelle

24-year-old Bordeaux-Bègles native Matthieu Jalibert


Jeremy Danty, 30, from La Rochelle

Fickou Gael (29, Racing 92)

23-year-old Yoram Moefana of Bordeaux-Bègles

23-year-old Arturo Vincent of Montpellier


The 20-year-old from Bordeaux-Bègles, Louis Bielle-Biarrey

26-year-old Bordeaux-Bègles native Damian Penaud

A 27-year-old member of the Toulon squad named Gabin Villière.


Toulouse native Melvyn Jaminet (age 24)

Located in Toulouse, Thomas Ramos (28 years old)

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