Antoine Dupont continues recovery as France prepare for Italy

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Antoine Dupont continues recovery as France prepare for Italy
Dupont was seen back in action on Thursday
Dupont was seen back in action on Thursday
Reuters
Antoine Dupont (26) was seen with ball in hand on Thursday for the first time since he sustained a broken cheekbone at the Rugby World Cup as the mercurial France scrumhalf steps up his bid for a potential quarter-final appearance.

The France captain underwent surgery and on Monday will visit his surgeon Frederic Lauwers, who will decide whether he is fit for a high-intensity rugby game, probably against defending champions South Africa on October 15th.

France play Italy on Friday and will top Pool A if they win while South Africa will finish second in Pool B if Ireland avoid defeat by Scotland on Saturday.

Dupont has been sprinting at training and played with the ball, although he is not yet allowed to make contact with other players.

"He is ready for the challenge, he is a competitor," number eight Anthony Jelonch told a press conference on Thursday.

"He cannot wait to be back on the field and we're confident that he will be back next week. If we win (on Friday)."

France could face elimination if they lose to Italy, and even if the Azzurri have not beaten them in 10 years, Les Bleus are wary of the threat, having prevailed only 29-24 in the Six Nations in Rome this year.

"We took some time to look into this game but also into other games against Italy," general manager Raphael Ibanez said.

"Every time it has been a big fight. We will need to be in control."

Italy were trounced 96-17 by New Zealand in the previous round of matches but France will beware of the wounded beast.

"They will give everything to make amends for their faux pas against New Zealand. We've been thinking about this game for two weeks now. We cannot wait to be on the pitch," centre Gael Fickou said.

"They are a team with a big ego, a lot of character, they always transcend themselves against us. We're neighbours and there are plenty of their players who play in our championship."

One of them is France-born Ange Capuozzo.

"If he was any good, he'd be captain of France," Italy coach Kieran Crowley joked.

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