France’s talismanic captain Antoine Dupont has rejoined the hosts’ Rugby World Cup squad a week after undergoing surgery on a fractured cheekbone, the French federation (FFR) announced on Saturday.
“Following the post-operative medical examination which took place yesterday (Friday), Antoine was authorised to resume directed progressive physical activity,” the FFR said in a statement.
“This activity will be carried out under the supervision of the medical staff of the France team.”
Scrum-half Dupont is expected to return in time for the quarter-finals, should France qualify, on the weekend of October 14-15.
France’s next game is against Italy on October 6 in Lyon when a victory would guarantee top spot in Pool A and a last-eight tie, in all likelihood with World Cup holders South Africa.
On Thursday, the French team’s doctor Bruno Boussagol said he was “convinced” that Dupont’s return would not take place against Italy.
“The news is reassuring,” Boussagol said. “We’re side-by-side with him, we’re hoping for a quick return.
“It’s a complex situation to manage: we have a process that requires us to be careful. But his return is conditional on the green light from the surgeon, that’s clear.”
Former World Rugby player of the year Dupont, 26, was helped off the pitch in a 96-0 win over Namibia in Marseille on September 21.
Namibia captain Johan Deysel was banned for five matches for the challenge.
After the game Dupont remained upbeat, posting “The show must go on” on social media.
Missing poster boy Dupont for the knock-out stages would be a big blow to France’s chances of lifting the Webb Ellis trophy for the first time.
The Toulouse half-back is yet to lose on home soil as captain of his country, a run dating back 14 Tests.
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