World-2023: the concern Dupont, only shadow on the table of the Blues

Marseille (AFP) - A card and a doubt: the XV of France signed Thursday in Marseille the largest victory in its history, against the modest Namibia (96-0), but the exit of its captain Antoine Dupont, hit in the head, is a source of concern for the rest of the World Cup-2023.

Antoine Dupont during the victory of the Blues against Namibia (96-0) Thursday in Marseille, as part of the World Cup-2023 © NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP


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This is the only shadow to an otherwise perfect picture: out at the beginning of the second half after a head-to-head clash with his Namibian counterpart, Dupont did not return to the field and went to the hospital to undergo tests, according to France Television.

On the eve of Pope Francis' visit to the Phocaean city, the Blues gave in their own way and before the hour to the public of the Stade Vélodrome a first blessing, rugby and orbi.

Their sin of pride last week, against the slightly less modest Uruguayans (27-12), is forgiven and the offensive bonus abandoned in Lille will be anecdotal in case of success over Italy on October 6 in Lyon to close the group stage.

It takes two to make a great match, which does not allow to classify in this category the totally unbalanced opposition between the team of France "premium" and Namibians partly amateur and outnumbered almost all the 2nd half after the exclusion of Johan Deysel for his gesture on Dupont.

The captain of the Blues Antoine Dupont, hit in the jaw Thursday during the match of the World Cup-2023 against Namibia Thursday in Marseille © CHRISTOPHE SIMON / AFP

It will still allow to regain the momentum born of the inaugural victory against the All Blacks (27-13) and to chase away the few tensions that have appeared in recent days - squabbles of playgrounds compared to those crossed by the usual host of their enclosure of the day, Olympique de Marseille.

Penaud overtakes Saint-André

Fabien Galthié's men, after securing the offensive bonus in the 21st minute, entered the annals of French rugby by erasing their record 87-10, already set against Namibia and already at a World Cup organized in France, in 2007.

They scored 14 tries in total, with a hat-trick for Damian Penaud and doubles for Jonathan Danty, Charles Ollivon and Louis Bielle-Biarrey. We can spare ourselves an exhaustive description, but we will remember that they obviously took pleasure in addition to giving an audience to the angels.

That they were applied in conquest and on launches, that Dupont had been good before leaving and that with his 31st, 32nd and 33rd tries in selection, Penaud has surpassed Philippe Saint-André (32) and is close to Vincent Clerc (34) and Serge Blanco (38).

Damian Penaud (left), author of a hat-trick against Namibia on Thursday in Marseille, congratulated by Peato Mauvaka © NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP

With this soap (from Marseille) passed to the Namibians, the France did better than Italy (52-8) and New Zealand (71-3), but it is not a competition. At least not of this kind.

Under the eyes of the great absentee Romain Ntamack, the convalescents were able to quietly resume the competition. Injured a calf during the preparation, the left pillar Cyril Baille played a half-time, Danty signed an express double and Anthony Jelonch's knee still held.

The Namibian "Welwitschias" will still have to wait to sign their first victory in the World Cup, in which they participate for the seventh time.

Given their level, it would take a small miracle for it to happen next week against Uruguay. With the pope in town in the coming days, it might be an opportunity to ask.

© 2023 AFP