France star Antoine Dupont suffers suspected jaw fracture

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  • Post published:September 22, 2023

France scrum-half Antoine Dupont may have suffered a suspected jaw fracture in a high tackle that forced him off the pitch in their 96-0 thrashing of Namibia.

Dupont, who had just scored a try, left the pitch in Marseille with a broken cheekbone in the 46th minute after a bad head-on-head tackle by Johan Deysel, who was then sent off.

“We have a suspected cracked or fractured jaw. We will wait for scans before moving forward,” said Galthie.

Many people think that Dupont, who is 26 years old, is one of the best players in the world. If France, which is hosting the Rugby World Cup, loses Dupont, it would be a big blow to their chances of winning it for the first time.

Allister Coetzee, the coach of Namibia, said that Deysel’s tackle was a “unfortunate accident.”

“This is the way the game’s going,” said ex-Springbok coach Coetzee. “It’s unintentional, it happened so quickly.

“Dupont is not the tallest guy. Johan is a clean player, he’s got no record of cards in the past, and he’s a great defender.

“It’s not unfair, but it’s a pity it happened to him. He’s the captain, he’s a brave player, he’s the glue of the team and he feels it.”

Coetzee added: “It was an accident, an unfortunate one and we had to take that on the chin. He’s cut up right now.”

Galthie said that Dupont’s injury took some of the shine off of France’s record-setting 14-try win at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome.

“Of course when one of our players gets injured, we’re never happy, we’re always extremely concerned,” he said. “It’s not the same thing as if we had no injuries.”

At the start of the press conference after the game, Galthie sent a text message to Dupont. When asked if he had thought about replacing the scrum-half at halftime, he got angry.

“I knew I was going to be asked this,” said the former France captain. “The programme was to change the two props.

“You can’t change all 15 players at half-time. Our plan was that we’re going to rotate the rest of the squad around the 55th minute.

“It was all about giving players game time so they don’t stay inactive for a month. This team wanted to be out there playing.”

Charles Ollivon, a flanker for France, said it was clear that Deysel’s hit on Dupont was a bad one.

“It was pretty late and his head was hit,” Ollivon said. “It was immediately clear to everyone.”

At first, English referee Matthew Carley gave Deysel a yellow card, but the bunker review system changed it to a red card.

It meant that Namibia had to play the last 35 minutes with only 14 people, while France ran wild.

Damian Penaud scored three tries, and Jonathan Danty, Ollivon, and Louis Bielle-Biarrey each scored two. Dupont, Thibaud Flament, Baptiste Couilloud, and Melyvn Jaminet also scored tries, and a late penalty try finished off the rout.

Thomas Ramos made 12 conversions, and the hosts completely dominated the 22nd-ranked team, giving them their 25th straight loss in the World Cup.

“I must say that’s definitely hurting, a bit of humiliation from our side,” Coetzee said.

“Every little mistake got punished and this is what you can expect from a quality side like France. You couldn’t put pressure or punch. When we had the ball we coughed it up, we kicked poorly, just simple basics and we weren’t good enough on that.

Coetzee said that their plan to beat Uruguay on September 27 in Lyon for their first-ever World Cup win was “still alive.”

“It’s a short turnaround but we have to regroup as quickly as possible. This has been a bit of a horror movie, but we’ve got to get it out the way as quickly as possible and focus on the next one,” he said.

“I’m sure when you get the result next week, this will be forgotten for us and it’s mission accomplished for us.”