Antoine Dupont’s chances of playing in France’s quarterfinal clash against defending champions SA at the World Cup were given a huge boost when he was cleared to resume rugby training on Monday.
The team captain underwent surgery on a broken cheekbone on September 22 and after quickly going back to light training, was waiting for the green light from his surgeon to start making contact with other players.
After the 26-year-old’s visit to surgeon Frederic Lauwers in Toulouse, the French federation (FFR) said in a statement: “Antoine Dupont has obtained the authorisation to resume rugby training as early as today.”
The French staff had said the surgeon’s clearance was key to Dupont’s possible participation in Sunday’s clash against the Springboks, adding that the player would have the final say on whether he would want to be on the field.
“Contacts [with other players] will be made quickly. We have three days to test him and see how he reacts before announcing the team,” France health manager Bruno Boussagol said.
“We’re in contact with him daily and so far so good. This afternoon, he’ll be with the fitness coach during training. Tomorrow, he’ll be available to the coaches to do what the others are doing.”
Should he feel ready, head coach Fabien Galthie and his staff will also assess if he is to start, possibly with a helmet.
“We’ve been discussing the use of a helmet. We’re working on it, he’s tested this kind of protection. He has to be able to train with it without his hearing or sight being impaired,” Boussagol explained, adding that “no risks” were taken.
“We need to help Antoine get into the best possible shape. We need to be by his side so that he can be available for selection in the best possible form.”