France lose talented forward for the Six Nations after serious injury

Colin Newboult
Sipili Falatea alongside fellow French forwards during the Rugby World Cup.

Sipili Falatea alongside fellow French forwards during the Rugby World Cup.

France head coach Fabien Galthie will be without Sipili Falatea for the entirety of the Six Nations after the tighthead prop ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.

The 26-year-old made his international debut in 2021 and has gone on to become a key part of the squad since then.

Falatea was Uini Atonio’s back-up for the Six Nations and would have been pushing for a place in the matchday 23 in this year’s tournament.

Dropped down the pecking order

Despite dropping behind Dorian Aldegheri, who was deemed to be the better scrummager, for the Rugby World Cup, Galthie would have wanted to develop the talented tighthead over the next four-year cycle.

That has now been delayed due to this horrible injury, which will keep him on the sidelines for at least the rest of the campaign.

He will require surgery after suffering the injury in training and is also likely to be absent for France’s July fixtures.

His club, Bordeaux-Begles, released a statement which read: “Our international prop is the victim of a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. We wish him good luck and a speedy recovery!”

Return of Atonio

Despite the injury to Falatea, Galthie can fortunately call upon his starting tighthead over the past few years, Atonio.

The 33-year-old initially retired after the World Cup but decided to reverse his decision after chatting with Les Bleus’ head coach.

Had both him and Falatea been out, it would have left them short in what was already their weakest position.

But the French head honcho will no doubt bring in a few new names for the Six Nations as they look to rebuild following their World Cup disappointment.

They were ousted at the quarter-final stage by eventual champions South Africa, who went on to claim the title with a 12-11 victory over the All Blacks.

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