Antoine Dupont during the match against Namibia, September 21, 2023 at the Stade-Vélodrome, in Marseille. CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP
Like the azure sky which presided over his training, the clouds seem to be moving away from the XV of France. Tuesday September 26, the co-coach of the French forwards William Servat assured at a press conference that he did not “not too many doubts about Antoine Dupont’s ability to play in the quarter-final” of the World Cup, October 14 or 15. Operated on Friday in Toulouse for a maxillo-zygomatic fracture after being hit violently in the head by the Namibian captain, Johan Deysel, on Thursday, during the large French victory (96-0), the scrum half of the Blues should play again during of the 2023 World Cup, which takes place in France.
“Antoine is doing very well today, the operation went very well, and he will be back with us for training on Sunday”, exposed William Servat. At the top of Group A and in a favorable position to qualify for the quarters, the Blues have two weeks to prepare for the last match of the group phase, Friday October 6 in Lyon against Italy (at 9 p.m.). Also the XV of France has entered a new phase of preparation since Monday, with a view to the final phases of the competition. On the menu, “intense periods of training interspersed with days of rest”, describes third-row François Cros. A menu to which the Blues are accustomed: it is their usual during weeks without a match.
Sunday, during the launch of the week preceding “what we approach as a round of 16” against Italy, according to the Toulouse third row, the Blues will have found their captain. “Antoine will resume training at his own paceinsisted William Servat on Tuesday. If there is a real desire for him to resume as quickly as possible, it is impossible to plan anything until we have the medical green light, but it seems that he will apply very quickly on the match sheets of the French team. »
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After having feared having to draw a line under “his” World Cup, the competition he has been preparing for four years with the Blues group, the French rugby star could make an expeditious return… no offense to former players and specialists who have spoken since Friday, emphasizing the risk of resuming so quickly after such an injury.
“This is not a PMU discussion on Sunday morning, ultra-competent doctors saw him, spoke with him and made the decision to operate on him”, evacuated William Servat. The former French hooker took as an example the former world football champion, Fabien Barthez, who had been in training for two days. “He told us that he had surgery for the same injury when he played for Manchester United, and he was able to play ten days after having the surgery”insisted William Servat, who also notes ” medical progress “ since the days when the “Divine Bald” played.
Johan Deysel sanctioned with a suspension of at least five matches
Furthermore, the player “responsible” – even if the gesture was involuntary – for Antoine Dupont’s injury, Johan Deysel, was sanctioned on Tuesday with a suspension of at least five matches following this high tackle. The Namibian captain was sentenced to a six-match suspension, a sanction which will be reduced by one game if he follows training to improve tackling techniques, which he has announced he intends to do.
“The player admitted his fault, and that it deserved a red card”, said the international rugby federation, World Rugby, in a press release. The theoretical sanction for his action, taking into account the injury caused, was a suspension of twelve matches. The disciplinary committee, having taken into account “the fact that the player immediately admitted the fault and the sanction, the player’s exemplary disciplinary record and his apologies” to Antoine Dupont, reduced this sanction by half.
The Namibian will therefore miss his team’s last match in the World Cup, Wednesday against Uruguay. Johan Deysel had, after the meeting, expressed his apologies to the French captain. “I would like to extend my best wishes to Antoine Dupont. Obviously I didn’t want to hurt him. It all happened very quickly and I couldn’t position my head quickly enough, resulting in a head impact. I know the rules and I immediately understood that I was at fault”the center explained.
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