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France star Dupont ‘has suspected broken jaw’: coach Galthie

France scrum-half Antoine Dupont may have broken his jaw in a high tackle that forced him off the pitch in the 96-0 World Cup thrashing of Namibia on Thursday, coach Fabien Galthie said.

The influential Dupont, who had earlier scored a try, left the pitch in Marseille in the 46th-minute nursing his right cheekbone after Johan Deysel made a badly-timed head-on-head tackle and was sent off.

“We have a suspected cracked or fractured jaw. We will wait for scans before moving forward,” said Galthie.

The loss of 26-year-old Dupont, widely regarded as one of the best players in the world, would be a severe blow to host nation France’s chances of winning the Rugby World Cup for the first time.

Namibia coach Allister Coetzee called Deysel’s tackle an “unfortunate accident”.

“This is the way the game’s going,” said ex-Springbok coach Coetzee. “It’s unintentional, it happened so quickly.

“Dupont is not the tallest guy. Johan is a clean player, he’s got no record of cards in the past, and he’s a great defender.

“It’s not unfair, but it’s a pity it happened to him. He’s the captain, he’s a brave player, he’s the glue of the team and he feels it.”

Coetzee added: “It was an accident, an unfortunate one and we had to take that on the chin. He’s cut up right now.”

Galthie admitted that the injury to Dupont had taken some of the gloss off a French record 14-try victory at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome.

“Of course when one of our players gets injured, we’re never happy, we’re always extremely concerned,” he said. “It’s not the same thing as if we had no injuries.”

Galthie, who sent a text message to Dupont at the start of the post-match press conference, bristled when questioned if he’d thought about replacing the scrum-half at half-time

“I knew I was going to be asked this,” said the former France captain. “The programme was to change the two props.

“You can’t change all 15 players at half-time. Our plan was that we’re going to rotate the rest of the squad around the 55th minute.

“It was all about giving players game time so they don’t stay inactive for a month. This team wanted to be out there playing.”

France flanker Charles Ollivon said it was obvious Deysel’s tackle on Dupont was a nasty one.

“It was pretty late and his head was hit,” Ollivon said. “It was immediately clear to everyone.”

English referee Matthew Carley initally handed Deysel a yellow card, which was upgraded to red by the bunker review system.

‘Horror movie’

It left Namibia to play the final 35 minutes reduced to 14 men as France ran amok.

Damian Penaud scored a hat-trick of tries while Jonathan Danty, Ollivon and Louis Bielle-Biarrey each scored two apiece and Dupont, Thibaud Flament, Baptiste Couilloud and Melyvn Jaminet all also crossed for tries, with a late penalty try completing the rout.

Thomas Ramos hit 12 conversions as the hosts completely dominated the side ranked 22nd in the world, consigning them to a 25th straight World Cup defeat.

“I must say that’s definitely hurting, a bit of humiliation from our side,” Coetzee said.

“Every little mistake got punished and this is what you can expect from a quality side like France. You couldn’t put pressure or punch. When we had the ball we coughed it up, we kicked poorly, just simple basics and we weren’t good enough on that.

Coetzee said their goal of targeting Uruguay in Lyon on September 27 for a first-ever World Cup scalp was “still alive”.

“It’s a short turnaround but we have to regroup as quickly as possible. This has been a bit of a horror movie, but we’ve got to get it out the way as quickly as possible and focus on the next one,” he said.

“I’m sure when you get the result next week, this will be forgotten for us and it’s mission accomplished for us.”

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