Rugby World Cup: Injured France captain Antoine Dupont set to return to World Cup with custom protective mask

  • 26/09/2023
Antoine Dupont.
Antoine Dupont. Photo credit: Getty Images

France are reportedly attempting to fast track captain Antoine Dupont's return to the field with the use of a custom mask to protect his facial fracture.

Dupont suffered the injury during the hosts' 96-0 demolition of Namibia, after a head-to-head clash with opposing captain Johan Deysel.

The injury has caused plenty of concern among the team and their fans, who are sweating on the talisman's availability for the rest of the tournament.

Imanol Harinordoquy with his protective mask in 2010.
Imanol Harinordoquy with his protective mask in 2010. Photo credit: Getty Images

He's since undergone surgery and rejoined the squad but there's still no timeline for his return to play.

According to French publication Midi Olympique, Dupont will meet with a specialist to mould a mask to his face that adheres with World Rugby's standards.

The governing body doesn’t allow plastic or carbon fibre moulds, meaning the mask would need to be made from cloth or strapping, similar to that worn by Frenchman Imanol Harinordoquy back in 2010.

The mask can also not be thicker than 5mm when uncompressed.

"Yes, carbon fibre masks are prohibited, but you can request an exemption for other materials," former France Rugby doctor Jean-Baptiste Grisoli.

France are on track to finish above the All Blacks in Pool A, and have one round-robin game against Italy before the quarter-finals, when they'll likely face South Africa.