Tue, 05 Dec 2023

France's hopes of lifting a first rugby union World Cup suffered a setback on Friday when tests confirmed that skipper Antoine Dupont could be out of the tournament after suffering a facial fracture during the 96-0 romp past Namibia in Marseille.

"Antoine Dupont has suffered a maxillo-zygomatic fracture," said the Federation francaise de Rugby in a statement.

"A specialist surgical opinion has been requested to determine the exact length of the player's unavailability. Antoine Dupont remains with the France squad."

Dupont sustained the injury in the 46th minute at the Velodrome on Thursday night in a head-to-head clash with Johan Deysel. The Namibian skipper's initial yellow card was upgraded to a red.

France, who were leading 54-0 at the time of the collision, racked up another 42 points without their captain against the 14-man Namibians - many of whom play in amateur sides in their country.

Since taking over as head coach Fabien Galthie has built a side around the dash and dare of Dupont and his Toulouse teammate Romain Ntamack.

The fly-half was ruled out just before the competition with a knee injury.


To lose Dupont during what was essentially a glorified training session would open Galthie to coruscating scrutiny especially after the former France skipper boasted of the precision and planning that had been invested in the quest for a first trophy after three defeats in the final.

Galthie's assistant coach, Laurent Labit, said on Friday that the squad would know by Monday how long Dupont would have to spend on the sidelines.

France's final game in Group A takes place against Italy on 6 October in Lyon.

Following three victories, the hosts are likely to advance to the last eight in mid October against either the world's top ranked team Ireland or the defending champions South Africa who are second in the listings.

Should they survive that test, the semi-finals take place a week later.

The tournament - the third to be held in France - culminates on 28 October at the Stade de France just outside Paris.

Originally published on RFI

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