Barcella injury rocks France
August 14, 2010
Fabien Barcella has been ruled out for six months © Getty Images
France coach Marc Lievremont has been handed a major injury blow at the beginning of the Rugby World Cup season with Biarritz loose-head Fabien Barcella ruled out for at least six months with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
The destructive prop was injured in training with his club and will undergo surgery on Sunday, having sat out their opening Top 14 victory over Fabien Galthie's Montpellier on Friday night.
Barcella has not played a Test since November 2009 after a string of injury problems, and his absence will damage not only Biarritz's domestic battle but also Lievremont's November Test plans. Les Bleus play Fiji, Argentina and Australia in the autumn before defending their Six Nations title.
Clermont Auvergne's Thomas Domingo inherited the No.1 jersey during last season and is in line to continue, while Biarritz do not currently have plans to recruit a 'medical joker'. Eduard Coetzee and Campbell Johnstone started in the front-row against Montpellier.
Meanwhile, Perpignan are sweating an injury to scrum-half David Mele, who suffered a suspected dislocated knee in Friday night's victory over Clermont at the Stade Aime Giral.
Mele had been deputising for the injured Nicolas Laharrague at fly-half and his absence increases the likelihood of youth team coach Manny Edmonds being pressed into action at No.10 once he has recovered from a thigh problem.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker