- France’s Captain Antoine Dupont Injured
- Facial Fracture Threatens World Cup
- Replacement Options Under Consideration
France’s Rugby World Cup prospects have taken a hit with the confirmation that Antoine Dupont, their captain and a globally recognized top player, sustained a facial fracture during the host nation’s record-breaking 96-0 win over Namibia.
The 26-year-old scrum-half is likely to miss at least France’s final Pool A match against Italy on October 6th, and his participation in a potential quarter-final against the world’s top-ranked team, Ireland, or the defending champions, South Africa, is in doubt.
This setback compounds the woes for the host nation, which is already without their primary fly-half, Romain Ntamack, sidelined due to a knee injury suffered in a warm-up match last month.
The French federation issued a statement, saying, “Antoine Dupont has suffered a maxillo-zygomatic fracture. A specialist surgical opinion has been sought to determine the extent of his unavailability. Antoine Dupont remains with the France squad.”
Dupont sustained the injury in the 46th minute during a head-to-head collision with Johan Deysel, who received a red card, having initially been shown a yellow card.
The original plan was to substitute Dupont around the 50-minute mark.
Laurent Labit, the assistant coach, expressed concern, saying, “We are worried. We were pleased with the match, but it’s been a tough night. However, we won’t jump to conclusions; we are awaiting the surgeon’s assessment, which will determine the duration of Antoine’s absence. We have 48 or 72 hours to wait.”
It remains unclear whether Dupont will require surgery. Labit stated, “We hope he can continue. We’re waiting to see what he can or cannot do, when he can return to training. However, it’s certain that we ended this match with a sour taste in our mouths.”
Since Fabien Galthié assumed the role of coach after the 2019 World Cup, Les Bleus have achieved a Six Nations grand slam and established themselves as strong contenders for the sport’s premier tournament, largely owing to their talented half-back duo.
Labit emphasized that injuries are a part of a World Cup campaign and that players are prepared for such eventualities. “This is something we had discussed with them,” he noted.
Maxime Lucu typically steps in as Dupont’s replacement at scrum-half, and France also has Baptiste Couilloud as an option. Couilloud made an immediate impact, scoring a try shortly after coming on for Dupont during the Namibia match.
Labit concluded, “Antoine will decide on his course of action based on the surgeon’s recommendation, and we will fully respect his decision.”