France captain Antoine Dupont has undergone surgery after suffering a facial fracture during Les Bleus’ Rugby World Cup victory over Namibia.
Namibia captain Johan Deysel apologised to Dupont following a head-on-head collision that has left the France star’s tournament in doubt.
Deysel’s yellow card for the collision, with France leading 54-0, was upgraded to red following a review by the television match official and he now faces a disciplinary hearing.
Touché mais pas coulé. Show must go on ⚔️. Hâte de retrouver le groupe ⏳
Merci pour vos messages pic.twitter.com/KCJYJp3Fit
— 𝗔𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗗𝗨𝗣𝗢𝗡𝗧 (@Dupont9A) September 23, 2023
In a message posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Dupont said: “Show must go on. Looking forward to seeing the group again. Thank you for your messages.”
The French Rugby Federation said: “Following his injury contracted during the France-Namibia match, Antoine Dupont underwent surgery on September 22 around 11pm at the Purpan University Hospital in Toulouse.
“In a few days, he will be able to return to the French team in a process of gradual return to sport under medical supervision.”
Dupont’s fitness setback is headline news in France, and there is a real possibility of Les Bleus losing their star player for the rest of the tournament.
Antoine Dupont steadies himself after a reckless tackle that may rob #RWC2023 of the world’s best player.
For 40 minutes, Dupont was otherworldly in a dazzling France side.
It seemed impossible he could leave the pitch dazed and tearful.
— Progressive Rugby (@ProgressiveRug) September 22, 2023
France’s final pool game is against Italy in Lyon on October 6, before a quarter-final – probably against Ireland or South Africa – the following weekend.
If Les Bleus reach the semi-finals, they take place in Paris on October 20 and 21.
Dupont has been inundated with messages from well-wishers as the former world player of the year battles to keep alive hopes of playing again in France’s home World Cup.
England defence coach Kevin Sinfield said: “I am disappointed for the competition, but we have no doubt he will be back.
“World-class players like that get themselves right very, very quickly, and I am sure he is doing everything he can.
“It will be a period of time, but you’ve seen players before play with facial fractures. So I suspect he will be back on his feet and back available very, very soon. We wish him all the best.”
By Andrew Baldock, PA Rugby Union Correspondent, Lyon
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