France's Camille Lopez.
France’s preparations for their RBS Six Nations showdown with England on Saturday have been disrupted by confusion over the fitness of fly-half Camille Lopez.
Lopez suffered a badly bruised knee in last weekend’s 29-0 victory over Italy and has been replaced in the starting XV for the climax to the Championship at Twickenham by Jules Plisson of Stade Francais.
However, head coach Philippe Saint-Andre insisted during Thursday’s team announcement press conference that Lopez was only overlooked once it became clear he was uncertain over playing England after speaking to his club doctor at Clermont.
“Lopez trained normally on Wednesday morning. He even kicked,” Saint-Andre said.
“In the afternoon his club Clermont decided that he must rest for four to six weeks. Clermont’s medic decided that without seeing him and using only the MRI we sent them.
“We had a chat with Camille then and he was disrupted. I need players who don’t doubt.
“Camille didn’t have any doubt on Wednesday morning. The doubt came in the evening. Camille goes back to Lyon to meet the specialist he had surgery with in 2013.”
Plisson , who impressed off the bench against Italy, added to the mystery surrounding Lopez’s condition by admitting it was clear that his rival was destined to start against England.
“We could see at training sessions that Camille was supposed to start the game, but we switched positions a lot at training so that doesn’t change anything for me. I have to prove to the coaches they were not wrong picking me,” Plisson said.