Antoine Dupont is set to return for France’s
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Antoine Dupont appears set to feature in France’s quarter final against South Africa after being cleared to return to training.
Dupont has been sidelined since suffering a fractured cheekbone in France’s World Cup pool stage win over Namibia, rejoining the squad last week after undergoing surgery.
The hosts’ captain has now been cleared by doctors to resume training in a major boost to Fabien Galthie’s side ahead of a last eight meeting with the defending champions.
France topped Pool A and take on the Springboks in Paris on Sunday evening.
“Following his medical visit planned today with the surgeon who previously operated on him, Antoine Dupont obtained authorization to resume rugby training today,” a statement from the French rugby federation confirmed on Monday.
Maxime Lucu, Dupont’s deputy, impressed in the bonus point victory over Italy on Friday night that sealed top spot in Pool A, combining well in the halves with club colleague Matthieu Jalibert.
But if Dupont is even close to full fitness, head coach Galthie is all but certain to return his skipper and star to the starting side.
There is doubt, however, over hooker Julien Marchand’s potential involvement in the quarter-final.
Marchand has not featured since suffering a hamstring injury early in France’s opening game against New Zealand, and did not return as anticipated against Italy after a set-back in his recovery.
Peato Mauvaka has performed well in his stead in the heart of the front row, with Pierre Bouragarit offering high-quality back-up from the bench, but Marchand has been a key figure over the last few years.
Galthie will confirm his team for the last eight meeting on Friday.
France beat South Africa in their most recent meeting last November in Marseille, surviving Dupont’s second-half dismissal after tackling Cheslin Kolbe dangerously in the air.
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