The Rugby World Cup was delivered a fateful blow just minutes into the second half of France’s lopsided victory over Namibia when superstar scrumhalf Antoine Dupont was forced from the field clutching his face.
Dupont was rushed to hospital for X-rays which confirmed a fracture of the jaw which will require surgery following the high tackle that felled him.
The length of recovery time is uncertain, with some believing he will be out for six weeks and will miss the remainder of the tournament.
Others believe he has a chance to make it back in time for the back-end of the tournament but even a quarter-final appearance may be a stretch.
Such is the enormity of Dupont’s presence that suggestions have been made now that France is the preferred quarter-final opponent of the two Pool B qualifiers.
The world’s number one and two ranked sides, Ireland and South Africa, will face off on Saturday night with the loser likely to finish runners-up in Pool B and draw the Pool A winners, which France will secure barring a shock loss to Italy.
Awful to hear the injury update on Dupont. Confirmed fractured orbital fracture. That will surely be the end of his World Cup as it takes six weeks.
Blows the World Cup wide open and could makes losing tomorrow the preferred option. Who would Irish fans now rather play in QF
— Joe Naughton (@JoeNaConnacht) September 22, 2023
Ireland, who are searching for their first-ever quarter-final win at a World Cup, beat France 32-19 in Dublin during the Six Nations back in February.
With France now potentially missing both star halves, Romain Ntamack and Dupont, Ireland’s chances of progressing by beating France have no doubt increased.
The other potential opponent is New Zealand, who Ireland beat in a series last year 2-1 at home.
However, many warned that the loss of Dupont could ‘galvanise’ France and bring out the best of them as they fight on for their leader. The depth of Fabien Galthie’s side is not to be underestimated.
Others wanted to see Ireland continue to win to maintain momentum, while losing against South Africa could make the Scotland clash a do-or-die knockout scenario.
Losing tomorrow is definitely not the preferred option. First of all, it would make the game v Scotland a straight knock-out contest. Secondly, France are best avoided for as long as possible. Even without Dupont, they’re a better side than NZ.
— Ger Downes (@gertieluimneach) September 22, 2023
You must always try to win. You must beat the best to be the champion. I don’t agree with trying to manage wins losses to avoid X. Just my opinion
— Damien Browne (@damienbrowne) September 22, 2023
It could galvanise France and make them just as tough to beat. Getting the host nation is always hard…….look at Japan last WC and the French are on a different planet.
— Croí Na hÉireann (@na_croi) September 22, 2023
Gotta keep momentum. Go for the win now. Imagine we’ll suffer ourselves against some tough players, so a week’s rest plus qualification in the bag would be huge ahead of Scotland.
— Dec (@Declan_ORegan) September 22, 2023
No one would prefer to lose. If Ireland want to be World Cup winners , we have to beat every team along the way
— Billy Walsh (@BillyWa58488656) September 22, 2023
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