The worst fears of Lyon coach Pierre Mignoni were confirmed on Monday after medical tests revealed that fullback Delon Armitage’s season is almost certainly over – after he had played just 64 minutes of the opening game of the season.
The former England fullback – whose contract with Lyon is up for renewal at the end of the season – will need surgery to fix anterior cruciate ligament damage he suffered in the tackle from Toulouse halfback Zack Holmes. Reports in France say that the external ligament has been completely torn off.
Before he knew the full extent of his fullback’s injuries head coach Mignoni told reporters on Sunday: “It’s dramatic, because we all know Delon’s age. It was one of his last seasons and I hope the injury isn’t too serious. Unfortunately, this is not a good sign. For him and for us.”
The operation has been scheduled for Friday. But initial estimates are that the 34-year-old Armitage will be out of action for 10 months, meaning what looked set to have been a crucial campaign for him is over almost before it began.
It is expected that Lyon will look to sign a medical joker as cover for the injured fullback.
The match at Lyon’s Matmut Stadium Gerland ended in a 16-16 draw, which put the sides level on points in equal seventh in the table after the opening round of the 2018/19 season.
The injury news gets worse for ambitious Lyon, who recruited heavily in the off season – bringing in Charlie Ngatai, Noa Nakaitaci, Loann Goujon, Raphaël Chaume, Jean-Marc Doussain and Jonathan Wisniewski to bolster their squad for a first Champions Cup campaign in their history.
Captain Julien Puricelli also left the pitch on a stretcher four minutes from time – and will miss the next six to eight weeks of the season, after suffering a shoulder injury.
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