Lopez worried about World Cup spot

Date published: March 20 2015

Camille Lopez admits he's worried the controversy surrounding his knee injury might cost him a place at the World Cup.

The Clermont fly-half was ruled out of this weekend's clash with England, ending a run of seven straight starts for les Bleus.

At the team announcement Philippe Saint-André questioned the influence of his club Clermont, implying that Lopez was being protected so he could be fit for a Champions Cup quarter-final next month.

However Lopez has since been ruled out of that game with a tear to his graft on the ACL he had operated on last year, and faces four to six weeks on the sidelines.

With Clermont and France now at loggerheads over the incident, Lopez is worried that he will be caught in the middle and pay the price when Saint-André names his World Cup squad.

"I'm devastated because I can't play and I want to play games. I don't need another operation on my cruciate ligament which would have meant six months out," he told RMC.

"So that's a positive point. But I'm disappointed because I had some big games coming up, in the short-term, and I won't be able to play them, be it the game against England on Saturday or the European quarter-final, as well as some important games for my club in the league.

"When I see the controversy it's created and that I'm in the middle, of course I've got my doubts about the World Cup list. I don't know if I will play or not. It's nothing to do with me. That's what I want to say. I didn't make this decision. Will they take that into account or not? The decision isn't up to me?

"I will speak to Philippe Saint-André now that I've seen the surgeon. I want to speak to him to make things clear. There was a risk for my knee and it's been confirmed. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

"Being the victim of this speculation, it hurts and it bothers me because I didn't make this decision. I'm the victim of not being able to play games I wanted to play. That's what bothers me the most.

"They are some important games that I will miss, but then again I say to myself: 'Is it not better to miss them and potentially play the end of the season and the World Cup in a few months?' Today it's hard, I'm a competitor and I wanted to play these sorts of matches. It was my first Crunch, a game you want to play. 

"The European quarter-final was my first, it was a game I wanted to play. With the medical result, I won't play in either. I hope over the next four weeks it will heal and I'll be able to get back playing as soon as possible.

"I didn't say I had any doubts (on Wednesday), there were conversations between the Clermont and French coaching teams. 

"Given the two sides didn't agree, they spoke to the surgeon who operated on my and he expressed his doubts based on the image he had seen. And he's not concerned by France or Clermont. He only cares about my knee, which he operated on over a year ago. He expressed his doubt when I spoke to him on the phone, so when I heard I was taking a risk with cruciate, that I could rupture it and be out for six months, that discouraged me.

"Afterwards I was called in by the French staff, who told me about their exchanges with Clermont, that they had heard back from the surgeon and for them, they thought I'd been forced. They didn't want to take a risk by playing me because it would come back at them if something happened during the game. And they told me I would be going back to Clermont. That's it. Under no circumstances, as has been said, did I go to the the French staff to say I wouldn't play this weekend."