Wesley Fofana out of 6 Nations with Achilles Tendon injury
PARIS (AP) France's Six Nations hopes have been dealt a blow with center Wesley Fofana ruled out of the tournament after rupturing his Achilles tendon on Saturday.
The quick and burly Fofana, who has 44 test caps for France and scored 14 tries, is a key player in midfield for coach Guy Noves. He sustained the injury on his own late in the first half while playing for club side Clermont in a Champions Cup match against English team Exeter.
Clermont said in a statement on its website that the 29-year-old Fofana needs an operation on his left leg ''that will keep him out for a long time,'' adding that ''he is out of the Six Nations.''
France, which finished second-to-last in the 2016 Six Nations, opens with a difficult match away to defending champion and Grand Slam winner England on Feb. 4.
Losing Fofana will be an especially hard blow considering how well his partnership was developing with center Remi Lamerat, his Clermont teammate.
France will also be without experienced fly half Francois Trinh-Duc, who is recovering from a broken arm but is hoping to play a part later in the campaign.
The French Rugby Federation has yet to name Fofana's replacement.
But one option for Noves would be to replace Fofana with Mathieu Bastareaud, who has 39 caps but has not played since France was crushed 62-13 by New Zealand in the 2015 Rugby World Cup quarterfinals.
Bastareaud was overlooked when Noves named his Six Nations squad last week.