French hold their breath over Dupont

Henry

The French rugby team undoubtedly has theirs mojo back, but captain Antoine Dupont’s injury put a damper on their 96-0 away win against Namibia in Marseille.

The 26-year-old scrum-half is not only the Roosters’ influential captain, but also most likely their best player.

However, Dupont had to leave the field in tears in the 46th minute of the Marseille game after butting heads with Johan Deysel.

The Namibian was initially sent off with a yellow card for his dangerous tackle, but the bunker official replaced it with a red card a short time later.

In contrast, Dupont was rushed to a hospital to determine the extent of his injury.

According to the French media, the former World Rugby player of the year suffered a fracture to his zygomatic bone (cheekbone arch); an injury that can keep a player on the sidelines for up to six weeks.

The country’s rugby bosses have sought specialized surgical advice and it is hoped that the recovery process can be shortened to four weeks, depending on the severity of the injury.

RugbyPass reports that the next 48 hours are key for Dupont.

It’s also not far-fetched that the star player might play with face protection; all in an effort to get him back on the playing field as soon as possible.

If his recovery process is shortened after four weeks, he will again hold the French captaincy reins in a possible semi-final match. But as things currently stand, it seems unlikely that he will be part of the host nation’s quarter-final plans.

France will play against Ireland or South Africa in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

According to Cyril Baille, Dupont’s untimely injury leaves a dark cloud hanging over France’s brilliant performance against Namibia.

“We are only too aware of the value he adds to the team. We are of course very satisfied with the result, but there was definitely not a party in the dressing room after the game,” said the prop.

Meanwhile, Fabian Galthié had to stand up to answer the media’s questions: Why wasn’t Dupont replaced immediately after half-time?

“What do you want me to say?” defended the French rugby coach.

“You cannot replace 14 players at once. Our plan was to make a few forward changes at half-time and then replace the other players by the 55th minute. We wanted to give everyone enough chance to play; the players were also persuaded to be on the field.”

France’s next game is against Italy in Lyon on October 6, while they are in quarter-final action at the Stade de France on October 15.