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Big blow for France as star limps out of Six Nations contention

NEWS: France’s forward stocks suffered a big blow ahead of this year’s Six Nations.

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Flank Anthony Jelonch will miss the upcoming tournament with a right knee injury, a source close to the Toulouse star told AFP on Monday.

The 27-year-old suffered the injury in his Top 14 club’s 31-19 win over Bath in the Champions Cup on Sunday.

“He felt his knee move. We’ll wait for the tests,” Toulouse coach Ugo Mola said after the match.

“We preferred not to take any risks. I dare to hope that it’s nothing more than a minor issue.”

Lock Emmanuel Meafou is set to miss the tournament opener, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) announced, without indicating the nature of the injury or the duration of his absence.

Australian-born Meafou, who also plays for Toulouse, is reported to have picked up a knee injury and is expected to be unavailable for the game against Ireland in Marseille on February 2.

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However, for Jelonch a rupture of the cruciate ligaments is now feared.

The 29-times capped loose forward had returned to feature for the hosts in the 2023 World Cup after recovering from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament to his left knee in last season’s Six Nations victory over Scotland.

The former Castres player had a six-month race against the clock to participate in the World Cup, and he started the second match on September 14 against Uruguay.

Jelonch’s Toulouse teammate Alexandre Roumat has been called up as his replacement, with the 26-year-old set to earn his first cap, the FFR said.

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