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France 'working on' protection for Dupont against Bok brutes

SPOTLIGHT: France’s medical director Bruno Boussagol said they will take an “intelligent” approach to captain Antoine Dupont’s return to full training before this weekend’s World Cup quarterfinal.

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The 26-year-old scrumhalf had surgery on a fractured cheekbone last month but will be able to take part in contact sessions in the build-up to Sunday’s last-eight tie with holders South Africa.

Earlier on Monday, Dupont was given the green light by his surgeon to return to full sessions with the squad, days out from the highly-anticipated match at the Stade de France.

“Everything went very quickly because he didn’t suffer any after-effects from his trauma,” Boussagol told reporters.

“The pre-requisite of his being to return to contact training was the agreement of the surgeon.

“Last week he did individual contact with conditioning coaches, everything was monitored.

“He will train normally, but we will do it intelligently,” he added.

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Boussagol said the scrumhalf has been considering wearing a scrum cap for this weekend’s game.

“We’re working on it, he’s already tried that type of protection,” Boussagol said.

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“There are two aspects that are essential with wearing a scrum cap.

“His vision nor his hearing can’t be affected by it.

“There’s a lot of noise in the stadium and Antoine communicates a lot.

“They are two things that need to be evaluated and tested during training,” he added.

His return is also a positive for tournament organisers with Dupont being used as a poster boy for the competition, having featured on advertising campaigns for water bottles, smartphones and the national rail service over recent weeks.

On a negative note for France is that first-choice hooker Julien Marchand remains unavailable due to a hamstring issue suffered in the tournament-opening win over New Zealand.

Head coach Fabien Galthie is set to name his side for the Springboks game on Friday.

“It’s unlikely we’ll see him in the squad for the game to come. He has to pass quite a few tests between now and the end of the week,” Boussagol said.

“If he’s with us now, it’s because he can play again, which we’re hoping will be at the latest next week,” he added.

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