Fabien Galthié will have to make do without one of his frontline stars
France star Jonathan Danty has reportedly been ruled out of Les Bleus’ World Cup opener against New Zealand on Friday 8 September.
La Rochelle bruiser Danty, 30, impressed when scoring a try in Sunday’s 41-17 win over Australia – the final World Cup warm-up – but has picked up a hamstring injury which is set to see him miss the opening night of the home tournament in Paris.
Read more: France Rugby World Cup squad
France will already be without fly-half Romain Ntamack, who is out of the entire World Cup after rupturing his ACL, and loosehead prop Cyril Baille, who is in the squad but won’t feature until the latter pool games with a calf problem, and L’Equipe reports Danty will not be fit enough to face the All Blacks at the Stade de France.
Danty started France’s last three World Cup warm-up games and is undoubtedly Fabien Galthié’s first-choice in the 12 shirt, having struck up a formidable centre partnership with Racing 92 star Gaël Fickou.
France do have experience of coping without Danty, however, after he missed the opening three games of this year’s Guinness Six Nations with a knee injury. In his absence, Bordeaux Bègles centre Yoram Moefana came into the French midfield.
Moefana could deputise once again while Montpellier’s Arthur Vincent is another option to plug the gap. Last season’s Top 14 top try-scorer, Émilien Gailleton, is also a centre but just missed out on the cut for the final 33-man squad, although the Pau man has been named on the list of standby players.
Danty was set to take on the probable All Black combination of Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane but there will now be a different dynamic to the midfield match-ups on the opening night.
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