France vs Uruguay: Anthony Jelonch proud to lead the Blues after his return from injury at the Rugby World Cup


nthony Jelonch feared his Rugby World Cup dream was over when he ruptured knee ligaments in February. The number 8 will now captain France in Lille on Thursday evening.

The Toulouse flanker suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during France’s 32-21 victory over Scotland in Paris in February.

Jelonch went under the knife in March and six months later will lead the Blues in their second Pool A clash against Uruguay.

Head coach Fabien Galthie rotated resources from the opening night victory over New Zealand to keep the French team fresh and vibrant.

For Jelonch, the chance to compete in a home World Cup kept his rehabilitation on track through several difficult months.

“I had doubts going into my rehab, but I knew I had six months,” Jelonch said. “I worked very hard during these six months and I gave myself the chance to come back.

“Returning as captain is a huge source of pride and I will do everything I can to lead my teammates to victory. I had surgery six months ago. My knee is holding up well and I have the green light from the surgeons and physiotherapists.

Return: Anthony Jelonch has not played since tearing his ACL against Scotland in February


“I’ve been preparing for a few weeks. Fabien told me ‘you choose the match you want to play’. I felt ready and he told me I could play this week. I just can’t wait to get started now.

France coach Galthie made 12 changes to the starting line-up since Friday night’s 27-13 victory over New Zealand in Paris.

The hosts face Namibia and Italy after Thursday’s clash with Uruguay, in what should be a straightforward Pool A schedule following this win over the All Blacks.

Cameron Woki, Gabin Villière and Yoram Moefana are the three to retain their starting places, while Jelonch captains France for the first time since 2021.

Galthie hailed Jelonch’s return as a major asset for his playing resources – but also for the morale of the France team.

“We remember that night against Scotland, we won, but it was tough for the group because we knew Anthony was injured,” Galthie said.

“He represents the group perfectly. We have been hit hard at times, we have experienced difficult times in terms of play, adversity and the environment.

“But the group has always been united and the players have been strong, and that is where our strength lies: in determination, confidence and solidarity.”

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