The Marseille weather can be capricious. And in a gust of wind, a clear sky is adorned with threatening clouds. Thursday September 21, the XV of France experienced it. Opposed to weak Namibia – twenty-first world nation, with a backbone made up of semi-professional or amateur players – Fabien Galthié’s men delivered a successful performance, record even, to win their third meeting of the 2023 World Cup (96-0), chasing like by a blast of the mistral the questions arising from their sluggish performance during the previous match, against Uruguay.
And then the tide turned. Shortly after the break, at 46e minute of play, the French captain, Antoine Dupont, was unseated by this lone rider.
If Namibia then scores a try and its first points in the game (54-0 at the break), all eyes at the Stade-Vélodrome quickly turn to a player, who remains prostrate on the pitch. “At the moment, we don’t immediately see what’s happeningreported third row Charles Ollivon after the meeting. And then we see the image of the shock on the big screen. From then on, we understood: the head was affected. » Victim of a dangerous tackle from the Namibian captain, Johan Deysel, the French scrum-half took the head of the former Colomiers player. After intervention by the video referee, the English referee of the match canceled the try and ejected the offender (a yellow card quickly transformed into a red).
Haggard, one hand on his face, Antoine Dupont gets up and leaves the lawn with a somber face. In the heat of the moment, some of his partners believed that his replacement was a precautionary measure in a largely dominated game, but the scrum-half was quickly exfiltrated to a hospital to undergo examinations.
“That’s the downside of this match”, whispered Fabien Galthié after the game. Asked about the state of health of his captain, the French coach declared that the French staff feared “a crack or fracture on the maxilla”a jaw bone, which could compromise the rest of his World Cup.
“When a player gets injured, you’re never happy”
However, the meeting had started well, and barely twenty minutes had passed before mass was said. With two days in advance of the arrival of Pope Francis in the Marseille city, Damian Penaud took charge of the celebrations, validating the Blues’ offensive bonus point (obtained on the fourth try), before the latter continued their festival, leaving their opponent fanny.
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