French will not press Dupont in tin about return


There was only one story in French rugby this week after mascot captain Antoine Dupont broke his cheekbone in a World Cup victory over Namibia.

Paris Fashion Week might have started, the Pope might have visited Marseille, French President Emmanuel Macron might have promised autonomy to the Mediterranean island of Corsica… but in bars and cafes across the country one issue dominated all conversation: Dupont’s injury.

Scrumhalf Dupont is expected to return in time for a possible quarter-final match on the weekend of October 14, but he will have to wait on the sidelines for next Friday’s match against Italy in Lyon.

However, the signs are positive and the indications for a speedy return are good after the Toulouse player spent a few days recovering at home after last week’s operation.

Tournament hosts Les Bleus did not play a game this week and spent the week training on the Mediterranean coast. They are expected to welcome the 26-year-old star back on Sunday after the entire team has had a rest weekend.

“This is good news. We will wait for him to return and talk to him about how he is doing,” team-mate Francois Cros told the specialist rugby newspaper Midi Olympique said.

“But you have to stay optimistic.

“It is only he who can say how he feels and whether he is able to play,” says Cros.

Maxime Lucu or Baptiste Couilloud are competing for Dupont’s number 9 jersey and there is a long list of candidates who could take over the captain’s reins. Charles Ollivon and Dupont’s high school mate Anthony Jelonch have led the team before during Fabien Galthie’s tenure. Gael Fickou, Cros and hooker Julien Marchand (even if he has a hamstring injury) can also serve as skipper against the Azzurri.

“The boss will not be present against Italy, but whatever happens, the lieutenants will be there,” former French full-back Xavier Garbajosa told Midi Olympique said.

‚ÄúThese guys shine. This is why France always looks calm, confident and out of danger.”

France is one of the favorites to lift the Webb Ellis trophy.

They will have more than two weeks between the match against Namibia and the match against Italy in their final group game.

“We are not lost and we are not waiting for things to happen either,” Cros said about the break.

“We know where we are going. And we know from now on things will happen quickly.”