- Fly-half has fractured jaw and will miss start of tournament
- Matthieu Jalibert the frontrunner to replace 21-year-old
France’s preparations for the Six Nations have suffered a significant blow after the fly-half Romain Ntamack revealed he has sustained a double jaw fracture. Ntamack, who requires surgery, will miss the start of France’s campaign and could face two months out.
The 21-year-old was among the shining lights of this year’s competition and was on the shortlist for player of the championship. He has forged an impressive half-back partnership with his Toulouse teammate Antoine Dupont but France will almost certainly begin the championship away to Italy on 6 February without him.
Ntamack did not play in France’s extra-time defeat by England in the Autumn Nations Cup final. Matthieu Jalibert deputised and the Bordeaux fly-half would again be the frontrunner to replace Ntamack for the start of the Six Nations.
He is also set to miss Toulouse’s trip to Exeter in the Champions Cup next month – a match the Chiefs will need to win well to have any realistic chance of reaching the knockout stages.
Ntamack wrote on Twitter: “Following a blow to the jaw which occurred in the first half of the match between Toulouse and Bordeaux the examinations show a double fracture of the jaw. I will have to undergo an operation and be away from the field for a few weeks.”
Newcastle and Bath have been awarded four-point wins for their cancelled Boxing Day matches against Leicester and London Irish respectively. The matches were called off following Covid-19 outbreaks among the Tigers and the Exiles, who have each received two match points in accordance with Premiership regulations introduced this season.
All Premiership clubs were due to be tested on Monday with a decision on whether London Irish v Northampton and Leicester v Bath can go ahead on Sunday, along with the other four fixtures, dependent on the results.
Newcastle have prevailed in all of their four matches since returning to the Premiership and though the results go down as 0-0, the wins for them and Bath could prove significant given that the number of victories is the first tie-breaker if teams are level on points.
Newcastle are scheduled to return to action on New Year’s Day away to Bristol but that match has been moved from an evening kick-off to 3pm owing to the anticipated bad weather.