France XV: “I started to think about stopping…” Paul Willemse, who prepared the 2023 World Cup package, talks about the months-long struggles

Another significant absence from the 2023 Rugby World Cup, MHR’s second row (aged 31) is looking for his best level since returning to the competition at the end of October after his right side was hampered for a long time. thigh.

The elimination of the French XV in the quarter-finals against South Africa on 15 October signaled the end of the adventure for Paul Willemse. Injured a week before the opening match of the 2023 Rugby World Cup against the All Blacks, there was hope of the second row returning in time to taste and take part in this prestigious competition.

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In an interview with setThe Montpellier Hérault Rugby player, who returned to Top 14 pitches at the end of October, has been hampered by a capricious thigh injury in recent months. “After all, I would rather have a big injury, a big absence,” details the man, who had ligament surgery on his right knee and suffered four tears in his ischios in May 2022.

“This is a disaster…”

The native of Pretoria (South Africa), who played against Scotland, Fiji and Australia last August, was later injured in training with his club Montpellier. “It’s a disaster. I feel like things are falling apart in a race. We’re a week away from the All Blacks and I know it straight away. I know the World Cup starts in a week and I’m awful,” he admits.

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2023 Rugby World Cup: Huge concerns over Paul Willemse likely to miss entire World Cup

Another disappointment for someone who missed the 2019 World Cup due to injury. “I was screaming like crazy in my car,” she says, before talking about her mental health and her future. “At one point I thought rugby might stop. (…) I didn’t know if I could do it anymore, if I wanted to continue playing. (…) I started thinking about stopping,” says the father of four, slowly finding a rhythm under the colors of MHR and once again He hopes to defend the colors of the France XV.

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