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France’s Willemse doubt for Japan tour with knee injury

Second-row Paul Willemse is a doubt for France’s July tour to Japan after his club Montpellier announced on Tuesday he will be out for two months with knee damage.

Willemse, 29, was injured in Saturday’s Top 14 loss to Lyon and will miss for the rest of the league leaders’ domestic campaign which includes this weekend’s European Champions Cup quarterfinal at La Rochelle.

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

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

“He is suffering from a tear of the medial lateral ligament in the knee,” Montpellier said.

“We estimate his unavailability to be eight weeks.

“He will finish the season with the medical service and will stay with the squad to support his teammates on the home stretch,” the club added.

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

The French Rugby Federation is yet to announce if those involved in the Top 14 final will also to head to Japan.

Last season, players from the league’s semifinalists were unable to participate in Les Bleus’ three tests in Australia due to COVID-19 quarantine rules.

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