Hit in the thigh during a training session with his club Montpellier, Paul Willemse has, as in 2019, had to withdraw from the Rugby World Cup. Replaced by his Montpellier teammate Bastien Chalureau, the powerful second line admires the exploits of the XV of France from his chair, but continues his rehabilitation.
Interviewed for the official podcast of the World Cup, the player of South African origin said he was soon ready to join the Blues if necessary. "Journalists call me every two weeks," he said. I am ready to join the team if necessary, the time to be back on its feet, in one or two weeks it should be good. »
"I manage steak by steak"
Paul Willemse estimates that he is at 70% of his capacity currently. And despite the disappointment, he has now digested his package. "I got used to it," he said. With each hard blow during my career, I have always given myself several days to digest. I eat a lot of emotion, so I manage steak by steak. »
The Montpellier native also returned to the big news of this World Cup, including the injury of Antoine Dupont and the Ireland-South Africa match. On his captain, the second line was clear: "If we have to bring back a guy, it's him." "He's an impressive player," he continued. And at the mental level, he is on another planet. He's an impassive guy. He is never too happy, never too sad. It feels like he's above everything. »
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It will be necessary that a player of the group is injured
Regarding the probable future opponent of the XV of France in the quarter-finals, South Africa, Paul Willemse admitted to being amazed by their performance against Ireland, despite the defeat. "Every ruck was crazy," he said. Quite a fight. The South African players put pressure on each release of the ball, they threw themselves on the carrier. There was no card, in such a physical match, it's rare and it shows the intelligence of the guys, beyond the physical intensity. »
Despite his absence, Paul Willemse remains a very attentive observer of this World Cup. However, there remains one condition for him to return to the group: that a player in the squad is injured.