His cheekbone having become the new nerve center of France, it is an understatement to say that Antoine Dupont is under scrutiny. Countless enthusiastic “Antoine, Antoine” burst forth from the throats of the thousands of fans who came to attend, Thursday, September 28, in Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône), the public training of the XV of France, but the captain of the Blues was still not present with his partners. Operated on a maxillo-zygomatic fracture on Friday September 22 following his head-to-head clash with Namibian captain Johan Deysel the day before during the French victory against the Welwitschias (96-0), the French scrum-half left his partners to recover at home.

“The news from Antoine is reassuring,” said Bruno Boussagol, the health manager of the Blues, on Thursday during a press briefing. His edema has subsided, and he has pain, related to the frontal impact [he received], but it has nothing to do with what he felt after the operation, so it is progressing favorably . He’s in good spirits, and he’s pretty confident. »

If the co-trainer of the conquest, William Servat, had shown his confidence on Tuesday, ensuring that he had “not too many doubts about Antoine Dupont’s ability to play the quarter-final”, the doctor wanted to calm things down. “A return for the quarters? We cannot ask this question, there are so many things to validate, insisted Bruno Boussagol – without excluding the possibility. We are not planning, we are already planning on his return to the group, which we hope as quickly as possible. » Excluding seeing the French captain in uniform again from the last match of the group stage against Italy, Friday October 6 (9 p.m.), the health manager highlighted the importance of progressing “week by week, in depending on [the player’s] feeling.”

“His return is subject to the surgeon’s green light”

The French captain’s situation is neither darker nor more optimistic than at the start of the week. “For us, from the moment he was operated on and everything went well, we can envisage his return. What we cannot control is our ability to play rugby again,” observed Bruno Boussagol. Because many uncertainties remain.

“His return is subject to the surgeon’s green light. As long as we don’t have it, we’ll have to wait,” said the Blues’ health manager. By the end of the week, Antoine Dupont will see Doctor Frédéric Lauwers again, who operated on him in Toulouse, to find out if he is authorized to reunite with his partners in Aix-en-Provence.

If this step is successfully completed – the French staff hope it is by Sunday – the captain of the Blues will not necessarily return to the field from the start. “There is also the question of his concussion, and a neurological check-up is planned as soon as he arrives to assess his condition. Which will allow it to resume,” highlighted Bruno Boussagol.

Released on HIA (Head injury assessment) concussion protocol, Antoine Dupont “was not completely checked” following the match, “the priority being his fracture”, announced the Blues doctor . Hence the neurological test required before any return to sport. And a gradual return, first by cycling, then re-athletics, after at least a week without sport.

However, the French health manager assured that the player, whom he contacted by telephone on Wednesday, was not describing the symptoms following a concussion: “He had pain in his face, in his joints, but he did not describe other symptoms. » One week after his injury, Antoine Dupont’s situation is evolving in the right direction. But it is still impossible to say that the French captain will be able to play in the quarter-final if his partners qualify by beating Italy.