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France captain Dupont suffers facial fracture

Antoine Dupont was named World Rugby’s player of the year in 2021

France captain Antoine Dupont suffered a facial fracture in Thursday’s 96-0 win against Namibia, the French Rugby Federation has confirmed.

The 2021 world player of the year was forced off in the 46th minute after Johan Deysel made a head-on-head tackle and was sent off.

The FFR says Dupont will remain with the squad and will see a specialist to work out how long he will be out for.

France’s final pool match is against Italy on 6 October.

The quarter-finals are scheduled for the weekend of 14-15 October, the semi-finals the weekend after and the final on Saturday, 28 October.

“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 FFR said.

The loss of Dupont would be a severe blow to France’s chances of winning the World Cup for the first time.

As well as being named world player of the year he was also voted Six Nations player of the tournament in 2022 and 2023.

The 26-year-old is also unbeaten in 14 home Tests as France captain.

After beating three-time winners New Zealand in the tournament’s opening game, Dupont was among 12 players rested for France’s second group win over Uruguay.

He was restored to the side against Namibia in Marseille he helped the hosts into a 54-0 lead before his collision with Deysel.

The Namibia captain was initially shown a yellow card but that was upgraded to red following a review by the television match official.

‘Dupont is the tournament poster boy’ – analysis

Chris Jones, BBC rugby union correspondent

Dupont will see a specialist to determine what grade the fracture is, but early estimates are that he is looking at between four and six weeks out.

Not only is it a desperate blow for France but for the World Cup as a whole. Dupont is the tournament poster boy, the best player in the world by a distance, with this World Cup a chance to cement his legacy as one of the greatest of all time.

He still might do that – a semi-final will be in five weeks if France get there – but it is touch and go, and it is shades of Dan Carter in 2011, when another all-time great was ruled out of a World Cup on home soil.

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