France captain Fabien Pelous is out of the rest of the RBS 6 Nations Championship because of an ankle injury, it was revealed on Tuesday.
The Toulouse lock sustained the problem in a European Cup match against Llanelli Scarlets in December, but was expected to be back for at least part of the Six Nations.
However, his ankle has not healed as quickly as he had hoped and Pelous has exacerbated the injury by returning to training too soon.
Les Bleus team manager Jo Maso has confirmed his skipper will not play in the tournament.
'Fabien is out for three weeks,' Maso said. 'He returned to Toulouse yesterday (Monday) evening to get treatment.
'He took a test, which revealed the ankle was bruised. There was an inflammation because Fabien wanted to return too quickly.
'He can't run for three weeks and is out of the tournament.'
Wasps hooker Raphael Ibanez has been France's stand-in captain in the absence of Pelous, and should continue in that role until the end of the RBS 6 Nations.