Sunday, December 10, 2023

Why Antoine Dupont did not come out at half-time of France-Namibia

This is the question that burns the lips of all rugby followers. Why the hell was Antoine Dupont still on the field at that damn 45e minute, while the XV of France had already done the job in the first half and led very widely against Namibia 54-0?

The exit of the captain of the Blues, with his hand on his face, worried everyone. The violence of the shock to the cheekbone with Johan Deysel was such that the scrum-half went straight to the hospital for examinations to determine the exact nature of his injury.

“Suspicion of a crack or fracture on the maxilla” simply indicated Fabien Galthié at a press conference, not having any further information at the end of the match. During the night, several media announced that the captain of the XV of France was suffering from the orbital floor and that the decision on a possible withdrawal would be made in the coming hours while waiting for the hematoma to resolve.

A verdict within 48 hours?

At the end of the meeting, the coach was questioned about the reason which pushed him to keep Antoine Dupont on the pitch after the break. “We can’t take all 15 players out at half-time,” Galthié smiled in front of journalists. The boss of the Blues admitted to having stuck to the strategy established before the meeting. “In our programming, we planned to change 1-3-5 (left pillar, right pillar, second row) at half-time and to change the rest in the 55th,” he explained. The staff therefore followed their roadmap. But the percussion of the Namibian center ¾ came to reshuffle the cards, Baptiste Couilloud coming into play ten minutes earlier than expected.

Despite this big black spot, no remorse over the management of the workforce has been expressed. It must be said that Antoine Dupont had to find playing time again. The captain had not played since the opening match against New Zealand, a fortnight ago. However, in the World Cup, keeping the rhythm of international matches is essential: it was unimaginable that he would not play a match between the All Blacks and Italy (a month separates these two matches).

The lackluster performance of the “second team” against Uruguay may have led to a review of the staff’s plans, which had perhaps imagined having Dupont play less time against Namibia. But whatever, history is made. And France trembles while awaiting the verdict. Response expected within 48 hours.


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