Antoine Dupont returns to his starting place this Sunday, October 15 to face South Africa. He will therefore only have missed the match against Italy (60-7), after his maxillo-zygomatic fracture on September 21 during the victory against Namibia (96-0). He was operated on the next day in Toulouse, and observed a period of convalescence before gradually returning to training last week. He got the green light from his surgeon on Monday to play normally again and practice with contact, which he did this week with his teammates.
Antoine Dupont was seen in training this week with a foam protective helmet, fairly standard equipment in rugby, especially among forwards, to protect against impacts to the head but also the ears. If he wears the same helmet as in training, Antoine Dupont will therefore play with a black helmet with white borders, covering the skull and forehead. He himself explains: “It was a wish of the surgeon. He suggested it to me. He even more than offered it to me (smile). (…) I tested it, there was no didn’t mind it so I went to play with it.” Reassuring protection but which can be surprising, because it does not cover the area of the fracture suffered by number 9 of the Blues, at the level of the cheekbone.
Antoine Dupont will wear a helmet in the absence of a protective mask on his face, as some football players do for example. Indeed, the World Rugby regulations prohibit, in article 12 (paragraph 4), any rigid protection: “No player must wear equipment of which any part has a thickness greater than 5mm”. This measure is designed to prevent equipment from injuring the wearer or an opponent during an impact. It is therefore impossible for Antoine Dupont to wear protection on his face. But the French scrum half assures that he will be 100% against South Africa: “My convalescence went well. I was able to go through the necessary stages, I had several weeks: I am in full swing. capacity of my game, of my physical or technical means for Sunday.”