Biarritz blow as Traille ruled out

MUNSTER’S Heineken Cup opponents Biarritz Olympique suffered a serious blow on Saturday with an injury to influential centre and veteran French international Damien Traille, who has now been ruled out for next Sunday’s Heineken Cup quarter-final with the Irish province.

Better news for Biarritz of outstanding No 8 Imanol Harinordoquy, who fractured his nose recently: French media reports suggest the Basque star will line out against Munster while wearing protective gear on the injury.

Traille picked up a forearm injury as Biarritz lost to Clermont, 26-19 in the Top 14 and will not play for four to six weeks.

It is understood that Saturday’s knock – sustained by the player three minutes from the end of the game – relates to an older injury which necessitated a screw being placed in his arm in an operation some years ago.

The club’s medical staff have not only ruled Traille out of the Munster clash at the Stade Anoeta in San Sebastian, they have also admitted that it would take nothing short of a medical miracle to enable him to line out in the decider on May 22 if they win this weekend.

Regarded as the leader of the Biarritz backs, Traille was credited with masterminding their narrow defeat of Ospreys in the Heineken Cup quarter-final and only a knee injury ruled him out of consideration by France coach Marc Lievremont in Les Bleus’ Grand Slam campaign in this season’s Six Nations.

When Traille returned from that injury in March Biarritz showed a marked improvement in their domestic campaign.

Harinordoquy may be able to line out for Biarritz next weekend, as club medical officials are happy with his progress following an operation on his fractured nose last Saturday.

Harinordoquy’s nose will be in plaster until tomorrow, at which time medical officials will evaluate his chances of playing against Munster this Sunday; they expect to give him the green light as long as he wears a protective shield on his face.

Leinster’s Heineken Cup semi-final opponents Toulouse beat Castres at home in the Top 14 over the weekend, but they have an injury doubt of their own in Louis Picamoles, who went off with an injured ankle in that match.

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