Talismanic French Rugby captain Antoine Dupont has suffered a suspected broken jaw, according to head coach Fabien Galthie.
The incident occurred during France’s record 96 – 0 victory over Namibia on Thursday night in Marseille.
Playing a key role in the French racing into a gargantuan half-time lead, Dupont was at his masterful best as he pulled off several sublime cross-field kicks to set up several French scores.
Despite being up by an uncatchable score, the French coaching staff kept Dupont on the pitch heading into the second half.
As Namibia looked to get the situation somewhat under control, captain Johan Deysel looked to put in a dominant tackle on Dupont, only to get his body positioning wrong.
Immediately, the match officials sent Deysel from the pitch with a yellow card on review, which was subsequently upgraded to a red card.
Whilst the card was a significant blow to Namibia, the potential loss of Dupont for France could prove to be tournament-defining.
Speaking about the suspected injury, Galthie spoke to the media, saying,“We have a suspected cracked or fractured jaw.
“We will wait for scans before moving forward.”
Labelling the incident as unfortunate, Namibia head coach Allister Coetzee said the incident was accidental.
“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.”
Confirming the news that Dupont has in fact suffered a fracture, the French Rugby Federation released a statement saying.
“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.