The first major injury casualty of the World Cup warm-ups has been thrust upon us, with the news that France out-half Romain Ntamack will be missing the real thing next month.
The 24-year-old remains one of the game's most thrilling players to watch, and epitomises the essence of France's famous 'jouer' style of playing.
Alongside the world's best player, Antoine Dupont, he has formed a world-class half-back partnership with both France and Toulouse, and the loss of this chemistry is seen as a massive blow to his nation's hopes of winning their home World Cup.
And while it increases the chances of the likes of Ireland or New Zealand going the whole way, fans around the world have been sharing their dismay at the news, such is the joy and flair that the maverick no.10 brings to the game.
Fans Lament The Injury Of Romain Ntamack
They should postpone the Rugby World Cup so it can only start once Romain Ntamack is fit to play in it. Useless competition otherwise
— Will Owen (@will_owen9) August 14, 2023
That’s a hammer blow for France to lose Ntamack.Cruel for a player on cusp of a home World Cup. Robs tournament of one of the game’s superstars too. Merde!
— Sonja McLaughlan (@Sonjamclaughlan) August 14, 2023
Romain Ntamack ruled out of the World Cup with an ACL injury.
Absolutely brutal. https://t.co/XDL5syVU9C
— Cian Tracey (@CianTracey1) August 14, 2023
Feel shit, want Ntamack back https://t.co/SZlhd9jHBK
— EK Rugby Analysis (@ek_rugby) August 14, 2023
Next in line to the ten slot for France is Bordeaux Begles' Matthieu Jalibert, with La Rochelle's Antoine Hastoy the third choice.
Ntamack's injury came during France's narrow 30-27 win over Scotland on Saturday, but initially did not seem to be too bad.
"Romain underwent a small hyper extension of the knee," said head coach Fabien Galthie after the game.
"We preferred to take him out of the game so there could be no further damage."
However, it turned out that Ntamack had suffered knee ligament damage. But, despite the immense setback, he has remained positive and tweeted the message, "I'll be back", earlier today.
Irish supporters will be all to familiar with the pain of World Cup warm-up injuries, remembering the likes of David Wallace and Felix Jones, whose World Cup dreams were dashed in what are essentially friendlies.
Ntamack missing the world cup due to injury is actually such shit news.
— Master Of None Podcast (@MasterOfNonePod) August 14, 2023
— Ryle Nugent (@ryle_nugent) August 14, 2023
Properly deflated by the Ntamack news.
Can we just cancel the rest of the warmups already?
— Graham Love (@glove931) August 14, 2023