He will be assessed by surgeon on Monday

At a media briefing on Wednesday, Bruno Boussagol, France team health manager was addressing questions about the fitness of certain squad members. But there is one question the nation is asking: “Will Dupont be fit?”

Captain, scrum-half and figurehead Antoine Dupont suffered a maxillo-zygomatic fracture in the match against Namibia, and underwent surgery shortly after. But according to Boussagol, “Everything is on track with Antoine”.

Dupont has been training on his own. He is due to be assessed by the surgeon who operated on him, on Monday, and if given the all-clear, we could see him return to team training next week, ahead of the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals (where, barring a rugby disaster, France will feature).

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Dupont has also passed the fourth-level of HIA, according to the team’s medical chief.

France health manager asked ‘Will Dupont be fit?’

Boussagol told the press of Dupont: “He returned to the squad this weekend. He was at training on Sunday with the medics. He did some exercises to see if everything was okay. Then he swiftly moved on to some running drills. He ticked those boxes in the first session and again in the second session. Everything is on track with Antoine. He passed his concussion protocols this morning so he is free from that too.

“The next step is a visit to the surgeon which is scheduled for Monday. That is the last check. We will wait for the surgeon’s opinion to see what progress we can expect from Antoine next week, assuming we qualify after the Italy match.”

When pressed on whether a thumb-up from the surgeon means returning to full-contact, Boussagol added: “I’m going to try to be clear about this. There is a pathway of decision making in his comeback. The prerequisite is the surgeon. That is the medical view. For as long as we don’t have the medical view, we cannot look at the rugby side of things and contact. Even if he has the green light from the surgeon, we will look at his comeback in a progressive way, like we would with any player returning to the pitch.

“At the same time, if the opinion of the surgeon is good, if he passes that test, we move into another stage. We will have to see how he reacts. Is he capable of getting involved in contact? Does he have the physical capacity? Does he still have any concerns?

“The third stage is the choice of the coaches. Just because Antoine is on the pitch doesn’t mean that he’s going to play. That is the third stage which must be decided by the coaches, once they have been updated about Antoine with the rest of the staff. They will discuss that and they can take their decision. There are three important stages but it is all conditional on the approval of the surgeon.”

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