France captain Antoine Dupont has rejoined the World Cup hosts’ squad a week after undergoing surgery on a fractured cheekbone, the French federation have announced.
“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 on Saturday.
“This activity will be carried out under the supervision of the medical staff of the France team.”
Scrumhalf Dupont is expected to return in time for the quarter-finals, should France qualify, on the weekend of 14 and 15 October.
Les Bleus’ next game is against Italy on 6 October in Lyon – a victory would guarantee top spot in Pool A and a last-eight tie, in all likelihood with World Cup holders, the Springboks.
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 Player of the Year Dupont, 26, was helped off the pitch in a 96-0 win over Namibia in Marseille on 21 September. 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 knockout stages would be a big blow to France’s chances of lifting the Webb Ellis Cup for the first time.
The Toulouse halfback is yet to lose on home soil as captain of his country, a run dating back 14 Tests.
© Agence France-Presse
Photo: Franck Fife/AFP