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Brunel defends call to send Ramos home from Rugby World Cup

FUKUOKA, Japan (AP) — France head coach Jacques Brunel has defended his decision to send injured Thomas Ramos home from the Rugby World Cup, even though the fullback played this weekend for his club side.

Ramos twisted his ankle in the 33-9 win against the United States on Oct. 2 and was quickly replaced by Vincent Rattez in the squad. But 10 days later Ramos played a full match against Castres on Saturday in the French Top 14 league.

"I would like to talk about one case in particular, Thomas Ramos, and clear it up ... The diagnosis, the (X-ray) images, were the same here as in Toulouse: a period of 10 days out. But it can be nine, or 11, you never know," Brunel said Sunday in Oita. "We needed (our) backs 100% fit. We had 72 hours to assess his case before bringing a replacement in, it's a completely different context when you're with your club."

Brunel stood by his decision not to wait any longer before deciding Ramos could not stay on with the squad in Japan. "I can't wait until the eve of the game or the morning itself to know if a player is fit to play or not. You can't do things the way you do them at a club," Brunel said. "It was my role to replace the player or not, I took on this responsibility."

Although Ramos was backup to veteran Maxime Medard, replacing him meant losing an accomplished goal kicker who could be dangerous coming off the bench in a tight game. "It didn't amuse me to send Thomas back to France when he's maybe our best kicker," Brunel said. "Except that I had this context to take care of. I think it was the best decision for our team, I don't know if others would have done things differently."

Three-time runner-up France, which finished second in Pool C behind England, faces Pool D winner Wales in the quarterfinals in Oita.

More AP Rugby World Cup: https://www.apnews.com/RugbyWorldCup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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