- Special Pages
PARIS: France suffered a major blow ahead of next weekend’s Six Nations opener with Italy as leading tryscorer Vincent Clerc was ruled out because of a thigh injury yesterday.
The 31-year-old Toulouse wing - whose tally of 34 tries puts him second on France’s all-time list four behind Serge Blanco - injured his thigh in Friday’s Top 14 19-14 home win over Biarritz.
After undergoing scans yesterday it was estimated that Clerc will be out injured for between 8-10 days which could see him fit again for France’s second game at home to reigning Grand Slam holders Wales on February 9.
Clerc has been replaced in the 33 man squad by 22-year-old Stade Francais flyer Hugo Bonneval.
“Hugo is a highly-talented young player who was already on our radar,” said France head coach Philippe Saint-André.
Meanwhile, former France captain Thierry Dusautoir said here yesterday he was looking forward to the challenge of proving he was worthy of inclusion in the 23 man squad for next weekend’s Six Nations opener with Italy.
The 31-year-old Toulouse flanker - capped 54 times but who missed the three autumn tests because of injury and has been replaced as captain by veteran lock Pascal Pape - is in the 32 man squad which will be trimmed down to 23 tomorrow evening.
“I am happy to be here with the squad and to be in top form,” said Dusautoir, a veteran of the last two World Cup campaigns captaining the French to the 8-7 defeat by the All Blacks in the 2011 final.
“The last time I was with them, I was injured.
“It is imperative that I demonstrate all over again I deserve being in the squad, it is something I find stimulating.
“We are competitors after all, having doubts cast over you is part of the job.”
The Ivory Coast-born Dusautoir, known as the ‘Dark Destroyer’ since his epic performance in the 2007 World Cup quarter-final victory over the All Blacksagencies