Wesley Fofana’s World Cup is over before it got started, France confirming that the 31-year-old midfielder will be replaced by 21-year-old rookie Pierre-Louis Barassi.
However, Fofana missed the opening round win over Los Pumas with what Jacques Brunel described as a complication and it was announced in the aftermath of the hard-fought 23-21 victory that he will now travel home to Clermont and miss the remainder of the tournament.
Although capped on 48 occasions since making a Test debut in 2012, Fofana had been having a difficult 2019 with injuries. He had to give up at a late stage travelling to Italy for a Six Nations match last March while he was similarly a late absentee for an August warm-up in Scotland.
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He eventually made it back on to the Test pitch to face the Italians, but a new thigh injury in training in Japan has scuppered his hopes of recovering from the knock suffered versus the Azzurri.
Fofana’s exit will likely herald his retirement from Test rugby as he had said pre-tournament that these finals in Japan would be his last adventure with France.
? Suite à une complication de sa blessure à la cuisse contractée lors de #FRAITA, @wesleyfofana (@ASMOfficiel) est forfait pour le reste de la #RWC2019. Il est remplacé dans le groupe par @PlBarassi (@LeLOURugby) #NeFaisonsXV #XVdeFrance pic.twitter.com/9GmiQUpaGT
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) September 21, 2019
He is the fourth French player to drop out of the World Cup reckoning through injury and the second centre. Midfielder Geoffrey Doumayrou had to throw in the towel in mid-August after he suffered achilles tendon damage.
Fofana will be replaced by Barassi, a 2018 junior world champion, He was awarded his first Test level call-up ahead of more experienced players such as Henry Chavancy, Jonathan Danty and Remi Lamerat.
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