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Injury blow for France as Villiere ruled out of Six Nations

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP via Getty Images

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France wing Gabin Villière has been ruled out of the rest of the Guinness Six Nations through injury, Toulon have confirmed.


It’s an unfortunate set-back for the young winger who has made four appearances for France to date after making his official debut in 2020.

Toulon said in a statement: “After sustaining a hand injured during the 18th day of TOP 14 Toulon – Racing 92, Gabin Villière will undergo surgery in the coming hours.

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“Thus the French international will be unavailable for the next 6 weeks.

“The entire Rugby Club Toulonnais team wishes Gabin a speedy recovery and a quick return to the pitch.”

It has been a remarkable rise for Villiere who was playing Federale 1 just two years ago. Writing about him on Twitter, former Rouen teammate Ben Mercer described him as a previously ‘very, very bad’ rugby player whose stubbornness saw him rise to the top.

“We had a teammate at Rouen who was very bad at rugby,” wrote the now-retired Mercer. “He played scrum-half and wore a scrum cap. Never a good sign. He had enormous hands that got in the way when he tried to pass and enormous feet that shanked box kicks everywhere but straight down the field.


“He belonged in the B team and even then he belonged on the bench. He was already 18 and was unlikely to improve very much. One day he came off the bench and came alive running with the ball. He still couldn’t pass but he could run a bit. He moved to centre where he could run some more.

“In the meantime, he was in the gym every day. He was still skinny and awkward but he was getting stronger and quicker every month. He was still bad but he kept working on his game. After a year he was playing for the B team in the centre.

“The year after he scored every time he played for the B team and sometimes played for the first team. The year after that he moved to the wing and began to score tries for the first team. He didn’t stop scoring them. The year after he played for the national 7s team. The year after he signed for one of the biggest teams [Toulon] in the country. The year after that he got picked for the national team.”


Meanwhile France have named a 31-man training squad for England week, which includes the return of Virimi Vakatawa.


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