The captain and scrum-half is now in line to face South Africa on Sunday

France fans can breathe a huge sigh of relief after Antoine Dupont was cleared to return to training by his surgeon ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final clash with South Africa.

Dupont sustained a fractured cheekbone in the 96-0 thumping of Namibia on 21 September, in a tackle which saw the Welwitschias’ captain Johan Deysel sent off and hit with a five-match ban.

Read more: Will Dupont be fit for Rugby World Cup knockouts?

Dupont cleared to restart training ahead of South Africa

Dupont had surgery but rejoined the national side last week. He watched on as Damian Penaud helped inspire the hosts to a 60-7 win over Italy, confirming their place as Pool A winners.

France’s 100% record in the pool stage means they will play the runner-up in Pool B in the last eight, South Africa, who were confirmed as the second-place qualifiers from the so-called ‘Pool of Death’ after Ireland’s convincing final-round victory over Scotland at the Stade de France on Saturday night.

In a statement released on Monday, the FFR said: “Following his medical visit planned today with the surgeon who previously operated on him, Antoine Dupont obtained authorization to resume rugby training today.”

Related: Who are the options to replace Antoine Dupont if he is not fit?

In Dupont’s absence, Maxime Lucu started alongside club-mate Matthieu Jalibert against the Azzurri but the face of the tournament will reclaim the N0 9 shirt for a huge encounter with the Springboks if he is fit enough to take the field.

However, Toulouse star Dupont does not have happy memories of the last time these two sides met, despite Fabien Galthié’s side coming out on the right side of the result. In November last year, Dupont was shown a red card in Marseille for a dangerous tackle on South Africa wing Cheslin Kolbe.

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