Top 14: Gabin Villiere operated upon, Clermont rope in seven recruits

Lawrence Nolan

Toulon and France winger Gabin Villiere has had a successful operation on the ankle injury he sustained in the Challenge Cup Final.

It is understood the official prognosis is for Villiere to miss between eight and 10 weeks, meaning he might sneak a return at the start of next season for Toulon but will, as expected, play no part in France’s tour of Japan.

All-new backs at Clermont

Another player now ruled out of France’s Japan tour is Lyon centre Pierre-Louis Barassi, who also sustained an ankle injury in his team’s last-day nail-biting defeat to La Rochelle.

Barassi, who will be at Toulouse next season, is thought to have damaged ankle ligaments, but will not need surgery.

Clermont, deep into a rebuilding after having lost several squad stalwarts, have announced seven new recruits for the 2022/23 season.

Australian international centre Irae Simone and experienced French international fly-halves Anthony Belleau and Jules Plisson have signed, along with back-line player Julien Heriteau.

Argentinean winger Bautista Delguy and Australian full-back Alex Newsome also join the three-quarters, while up front the team will be reinforced by back-row Loic Godener.

The Barbarians’ team to face England, coached by Fabien Galthie, has a distinctly French flavour to it. As many as 20 French players are expected to be in the squad, which will be captained by Charles Ollivon and will also feature international star Damian Penaud.

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