France captain Antoine Dupont has undergone surgery on a facial injury and will return to his Rugby World Cup squad to recover, but the questions remain over whether he can make a spectacular World Cup return.
The 26-year-old sustained the injury in Thursday’s 96-0 record win against Namibia in a head-to-head clash with opposing captain Johan Deysel, whose initial yellow card was upgraded to a red.
“Following his injury sustained during the France-Namibia match, Antoine Dupont underwent surgery at Toulouse’s CHU Purpan on September 22 at around 11 pm,” the French federation said in a statement.
“In a few days’ time, he will be able to return to the French team as part of a gradual sporting recovery under medical supervision.”
The FFR did not say when Dupont would be able to play again but the player and defence coach Shaun Edwards sounded optimistic on Saturday.
“Wounded but not sunk. Show must go on. Can’t wait to return to the squad,” Dupont wrote on X.
“If we make it to the latter stages of the World Cup then I’d be very surprised if he isn’t available for the quarter or semi-final,” Edwards wrote in a column for the Daily Mail.
The Englishman was happy Dupont was able to “have a yoghurt and a protein shake”.
“It was a very quiet breakfast hall at our team hotel on Friday morning. I’m one of the early risers and Antoine Dupont was one of the first players down,” he said.
“He’d spent the night in the hospital … and there was a bit of swelling around his face.
“If you can’t eat then you might lose a stone and that really affects your power. Antoine is all muscle so it’s a real positive that he can maintain his weight.”
France could face top-ranked Ireland or defending champions South Africa in the quarter-finals on the weekend of October 14-15.