Putting an end to lingering uncertainty about whether-or-not France’s best player Earvin Ngapeth would be available for the upcoming World Championships, which start for 4 teams on Sunday and for the rest of the field on Wednesday, France has announced their roster, and Ngapeth is included.
The 27-year old outside hitter his missed the last of France’s friendlies while recovering from an abdominal injury suffered in training on August 29th, and is expected to be out for 2 to 3 weeks, which has him returning to the court some time between August 12th and 19th.
Speaking to the media as the team prepares to depart for Ruse, Bulgaria, where they’ll open the tournament, Ngapeth said that he has no worries, because he has plenty of training behind him, and that there was no muscular tear.
He was noncommittal as to whether he would play in the opener against China, but said that he does expect to play at the World Cup.
France opens against China on September 12th, where they’ll still be favorites even without Ngapeth, and then play Brazil (September 13th), Egypt (September 14th), the Netherlands (September 16th), and Canada (September 18th). The top 4 teams in the pool advance to the next round of the tournament. The duo of Kevin Tillie and Julien Lyneel played well in this weekend’s friendlies against Serbia, with Lyneel being the top player of the 2nd match, a 3-2 win.
France placed 4th at the last edition of the World Championships in 2014, which was their 2nd-best placement ever after a bronze medal in Buenos Aires in 2002.
Teams are only allowed to declare 12 of their 14 players eligible for any given match, meaning that Ngapeth’s presence on the bench doesn’t impact their ability to make an additional hitter available until Ngapeth is ready.
- Setters: Benjamin Toniutti, Antoine Brizard
- Opposites: Stephen Boyer, Jean Patry
- Middle Blockers: Kevin Le Roux, Nicolas Le Goff, Jonas Aguenier, Barthelemy Chinenyeze
- Outside Hitters: Earvin Ngapeth, Kevin Tillie, Julien Lyneel, Thibault Rossard
- Liberos: Jenia Grebennikov, Jeremie Mouiel