French skipper goes off clutching his face
It was fringing on the worst-case scenario. With France picking as close as possible to their full-strength team to face Namibia, a win was pretty much guaranteed – but avoiding an Antoine Dupont injury was a must. Alas…
The hosts racked up tries in a 96-0 win in Marseilles, registering their highest-ever Rugby World Cup points total. But on minute 51, Namibia captain Johan Deysel was shown a card that was eventually upgraded to a red, following a head-on-head shot that saw France captain Dupont sent for a head injury assessment while clutching his face.
We will wait to see what the result of the collision is. Post-match, France boss Fabien Galthié told broadcaster France 2: “We have a suspected cracked or fractured jaw. We will wait for scans before moving forward.” Today, that has been revised to a potential orbital fracture (damage around the eye socket).
Ironically Dupont is the face of this tournament, and any damage to him will be felt nationally.
The French management perhaps felt compelled to pick their strongest possible side following a disappointing second-round match against Uruguay, in which France were given a huge scare and failed to get a try bonus. But in going all-in on this match, they have put their talisman in harm’s way.
Close to the finish of the match, French media reported that the Dupont injury saw him taken to hospital for a scan. We are yet to find out any prognosis.
We saw 14 unanswered French tries in Marseilles, with the host side in ruthless mood from the get-go. Damian Penaud helped himself to a hat-trick, while returning centre Jonathan Danty had two, as did Charles Ollivon and 20-year-old sensation Louis Bielle-Biarrey.
However, 14 tries and a record haul in this famous tournament are scant salve, if the iconic captain is ruled out. We await the results of that scan. All of France does.