France’s captain Antoine Dupont underwent an operation on his broken cheekbone and will return to the group “in a few days”, the French Rugby Federation said on Saturday.
However, it is not clear when Dupont will be able to return to the field and what that means for his World Cup tournament.
Dupont suffered the injury after he and Johan Deysel, Namibia’s captain, butted heads hard in France’s 96-0 win.
The 26-year-old scrum-half, who was World Player of the Year in 2021, underwent surgery in Toulouse on Friday.
“I can’t wait to rejoin the team,” Dupont said on social media. France’s last pool match is against Italy on 6 October with a potential quarter-final against the current champions, South Africa, or Ireland.
France’s defense coach, Shaun Edwards, said on Friday that it is a very painful injury, but a broken cheekbone is easier to manage than a broken jaw.
A long absence for Dupont will be a serious blow to France’s hopes of winning the World Cup for the first time.
Deysel was initially given a yellow card for the dangerous tackle and this was later upgraded to a red card.
Deysel has since apologized. “I would like to convey my best wishes to Antoine Dupont. Obviously, I had no bad intentions. Everything happened very quickly and I couldn’t get my head out of the way soon enough, which led to a head-on collision,” he said.
“I know the rules and immediately knew I was wrong. I spoke to Fabien Galthie (France’s coach) immediately after the match and sent my best wishes and apologies to Antoine, personally and via the French team’s doctor. He is a wonderful player and person and I wish him a speedy recovery.”