Dupont went off with a potential serious facial injury in the Marseille clash and was taken to hospital with Fabien Galthie’s decision to keep his captain and star scrum half on the field, despite a 54-point half-time lead, brought into question.
Now the French Rugby Federation has confirmed that Dupont suffered a facial fracture, but said in a statement that he will remain with the squad while specialists determine the exact length of the World Cup star’s unavailability.
Follow all the latest updates on Dupont’s condition and the potential ramifications for South Africa, Ireland and even Scotland depending on the quarter-final matches. Plus get all the latest Rugby World Cup odds and tips here.
Namibia captain apologises to Antoine Dupont after facial fracture
Namibia captain Johan Deysel has apologised to Antoine Dupont following a head-on-head collision that has left the France star’s Rugby World Cup campaign in doubt.
Dupont suffered a facial fracture during France’s record 96-0 win against Namibia in Marseille.
Deysel’s yellow card for the collision, with France leading 54-0, was upgraded to red following a review by the television match official.
The French Rugby Federation confirmed the extent of Dupont’s injury on Friday, but said it was uncertain how long the scrum-half will be unavailable for.
Deysel said: “I would like to extend my best wishes to Antoine Dupont. Clearly, I meant no harm.
“Everything happened very quickly and I couldn’t get my head out of the way quick enough, resulting in a head clash. I know the rules and immediately knew that I was at fault.
“I spoke with Fabien Galthie (France head coach) immediately after the match and sent my best wishes and apologies to Antoine, both personally and via the France team doctor.
“He is a great player and person, and I wish him a speedy recovery.”
France attack coach Laurent Labit reacts to Antoine Dupont’s injury
On the squad having suffered so many injuries:
“A World Cup is a long journey. The players prepared for a lot of injuries. That’s inherent in our sport. In our minds, Antoine hasn’t finished the competition yet. We’re hoping for good news in the next three days. He’s still in hospital, but he’ll be discharged later today to recuperate and see the specialist.”
On whether Maxime Lucu will inevitably replace Antoine Dupont, given his experience:
“We have three days to recover before looking ahead to the Italy match in a fortnight’s time. We’re going to do what we always do. We’ll get together to decide on the best team based on the strategy we’ve chosen for this match. Both Baptiste [Couilloud] and Maxime will be able to start. We’ll think about it after looking at our opponents.”
On whether it’s worth taking the risk of playing Antoine Dupont given the exceptional nature of the event:
“Yes, it’s a very important competition, almost the sporting event of a lifetime for some. It’s a World Cup on home soil with a team that can claim overall victory. This is obviously a factor that should weigh heavily when the decision is made. But the final choice will depend on the surgeon and Antoine. The specialist knows who Antoine Dupont is and he’s aware of what he’s playing in.”
Antoine Dupont taken to hospital as France suffer major World Cup blow
Dupont was taken to hospital after leaving the field after a head-to-head collision during the second half of the hosts’ record win over Namibia.
And the French Rugby Federation confirmed the concerning news: “Antoine Dupont has suffered a maxillo-zygomatic fracture. A specialist surgical opinion has been requested to determine the exact length of the player’s unavailability. Antoine Dupont remains with the France squad.”
The scrum-half, regarded by most as the best player in the world, was hit by the top of Johan Deysel’s head, with the Namibia centre’s yellow card upgraded to red on review.
While the incident happened early in the second half, Fabien Galthie’s decision to keep his star man on despite a sizeable 54-point halftime advantage may be scrutinised with Dupont now expected to miss at least some of France’s potential run to the final.
The hosts’ captain and star scrum half has suffered a facial fracture, leaving his further participation at the tournament in doubt
Antoine Dupont offered hope of speedy return by Brad Barritt
Is Argentina vs Samoa on TV? Channel, start time and how to watch Rugby World Cup
Michael Cheika’s Pumas had entered their first fixture with hopes of topping Pool D, but struggled to exert themselves on the contest, even after Tom Curry’s early sending off.
Things are unlikely to get much more straightforward against a Samoan side some are tipping to push for a last eight place.
A slightly uneven performance against Chile nonetheless ended in a bonus point win for Seilala Mapusua’s men to get their tournament up and running with a full five pool points.
Here’s everything you need to know. Get the latest Rugby World Cup odds here.
Everything you need to know ahead of the Pool D fixture
Australia team news vs Wales
Eddie Jones has made three changes to his starting team for the clash against Wales, including dropping flyhalf Carter Gordon and openside flanker Fraser McReight to the bench.
“Just feel we needed to properly freshen up the team,” Jones said. “Carter’s had an opportunity, struggled a bit against Fiji and I thought that it’s best for him to finish the game for us.”
Tate McDermott returns at scrumhalf after missing the loss to Fiji with concussion and will link up with Ben Donaldson, who moves forward from fullback, in a new halves combination.
“He attacks the line well, Ben,” Jones said. “Against Wales ... if we can get quick ruck ball, we need a team that can attack the line.”
Andrew Kellaway, one of the more experienced backs in a young squad, will make his World Cup debut at fullback.
Jones reacted to Australia losing the battle of the breakdown against Fiji by re-jigging his back row, moving Tom Hooper from blindside to openside and handing Rob Leota the number six shirt.
Veteran flyhalf Quade Cooper and 125-cap openside Michael Hooper were two of the most surprising omissions from the World Cup squad but Jones denied that he had not fully explained leaving them out.
“I think I’ve been very clear about the fact that I’ve been brought in to change Australian Rugby,” he said.
“I’ve made no bones about that ... and we’ve needed to move players on.”
Hooker Dave Porecki lines up in an unchanged front five and again replaces the injured Will Skelton as captain with Jones explaining that he wanted vice-captain McDermott to focus on his game.
“We’ve got an opportunity to show on Sunday whether we can fight and really grind out to get the result we need to get and I’m confident we can,” said Jones.
Team: 15-Andrew Kellaway, 14-Mark Nawaqanitawase, 13-Jordan Petaia, 12-Samu Kerevi, 11-Marika Koroibete, 10-Ben Donaldson, 9-Tate McDermott, 8-Rob Valetini, 7-Tom Hooper, 6-Rob Leota, 5-Richie Arnold, 4-Nick Frost, 3-James Slipper, 2-David Porecki (captain), 1-Angus Bell
Replacements: 16-Matt Faessler, 17-Blake Schoupp, 18-Pone Fa’amausili, 19-Matt Philip, 20-Fraser McReight, 21-Nic White, 22-Carter Gordon, 23-Suliasi Vunivalu.
Eddie Jones knows Australia job in jeopardy ahead of Wales clash
Australia coach Eddie Jones accepts that his job will be on the line if the Wallabies lose to Wales on Sunday and crash out of the World Cup at the pool stage for the first time.
A first loss to Fiji in nearly seven decades last week has left Australia’s campaign on life support heading into the Pool C match at OL stadium. Jones’s record in his second stint as coach stands at one win from seven tests.
“I can’t apologise any more guys. I’m really sorry we haven’t had better results,” Jones told reporters after naming his team on Friday.
“But we’re trying to create a team that creates dreams for Australian Rugby. We’re not trying to be a mediocre team, right? We want to be a really good team and to be a really good team there’s some pain and there’s some failure involved.
“At the end of the World Cup, there’s going to be a review,” he added. “And given the results we’ve had, then maybe Australian Rugby doesn’t want to keep me. That’s the reality of the job I live in.”
Scotland make four changes for crucial Tonga clash
In other World Cup news, Scotland coach Gregor Townsend has made four changes for the game in Nice, which the side must win if they want to keep alive hopes of a quarter-final place.
Winger Kyle Steyn joins Scotland’s starting lineup for the Rugby World Cup Pool B clash with Tonga on Sunday, hoping for a repeat of the happy memories of the last time he played the Pacific islanders.
Steyn, who scored four tries when Scotland beat Tonga 61-14 in a friendly in November 2021, replaces Darcy Graham following the 18-3 loss to South Africa in Scotland’s group opener.
Chris Harris comes in at centre in the place of Huw Jones but will wear the number 13 jersey, with Sione Tuipulotu moving to 12, while Scott Cummings takes over from Grant Gilchrist at lock.
In the other change, prop Rory Sutherland stands in for Pierre Schoeman.
Head coach Gregor Townsend has made four changes in total to his starting line-up for the must-win encounter in Nice
Danny Care also offers his take on France potentially losing Antoine Dupont
A bit of scrum half solidarity from Danny Care, with the England veteran sending his best to a fellow nine. ““I echo what Kev said, we all send him our best.
“In the World Cup, you want to see the best players, Antoine is the best player in the world so we want to see him back there in a French shirt.
“One thing we know about him is he is tough and if he is able he will be back in a French shirt. I saw the way they played last night with him fizzing around and he is pretty special, so for the tournament I want to see the best players playing so we wish him a speedy recovery.”
England defence coach Kevin Sinfield sends well wishes to Antoine Dupont
“First of all, on behalf of everyone connected with England rugby, we’d like to pass on our best wishes to Antoine and hope for a speedy recovery. I am disappointed for the competition at this point. We have no doubt he will be back. World class players like that get themselves right very, very quickly. I’m sure he is doing everything he can.
“With a facial fracture, there will be a period of time [where he is out] but we’ve seen players play with them before. I suspect he will back on his feet and back available very, very soon. We wish him all the best.”
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