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France issue injury updates on Damian Penaud and Antoine Dupont

By Ian Cameron
Damian Penaud of France looks on during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between France and Italy at Groupama Stadium on October 6, 2023 in Decines near Lyon, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

France support coach Karim Ghezal has issued an injury update on winger Damian Penaud and captain Antoine Dupont following last night’s Rugby World Cup win over Italy in Lyon.

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Les Bleus booked their spot in the knockout stages of the competition after thrashing Italy 60-7 in an ultimately one-sided affair.

It now sets up a quarter-final against one of Scotland, South Africa or Ireland but Fabien Galthie will be hoping that Dupont – France’s captain and star player – returns to the field for the pivotal game.

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Dupont’s next marker will be whether or not his surgeon clears him to play, a meeting which will take place next week. By the sounds of things, his return is looking increasingly likely.

He said that injured scrumhalf Dupont is in ‘great shape’ as he battles to be considered fit for France in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

“His physical qualities are impressive. He’s worked hard physically, done a lot of running, a lot of speed work. Those are his strong points. The next step, is the appointment with his surgeon, who will decide. Physically, he hasn’t lost much in the week he’s been off, quite the opposite in fact. Physically, he’s in great shape.”

Ghezal also issued an update on Damian Penaud, who was seen limping last night following their victory over Italy in their last pool stage match.

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“Everything’s fine,” said Ghezal in regards to Penaud, who scored a brace of tries against Italy.  “It happens to him in training too. I think it’s a slight knock to his tibia. All the players are going to have a medical assessment this morning. From what I’ve heard, we don’t have any concerns with any players. Damian is 100 per cent.”

The game also saw the successful comebacks of back row Anthony Jelonch and prop Cyril Baille.

“Their comebacks are down to the quality of the medical staff and performance work to get them back on the pitch. We’ve got 33 players who started out and have gone from strength to strength. Some were ruled out by injury, while others, like Cyril, started the competition with an injury and came back.

“With Cyril, if you look at the first defensive touch of the match, he does a sprint. Each time he has a lot of energy, he goes from strength to strength. Anthony is the same. He’s had one match after another and he’s performing well in his strong points.

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“As for Julien (Marchand), we’re waiting to see how he progresses and we hope to see him back playing in the tournament. As long as he’s with us, that means we’re counting on him for the games ahead. After that, we’ll give it a couple of days and see how he is. He’s been running. I’ll be told on Monday or Tuesday whether he’s fit.”

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mitch 1 hours ago
The Wallabies team Joe Schmidt must pick to win back Bledisloe Cup

Rodda will be a walk up starter at lock. Frost if you analyse his dominance has little impact and he’s a long way from being physical enough, especially when you compare to Rodda and the work he does. He was quite poor at the World Cup in his lack of physicality. Between Rodda and Skelton we would have locks who can dominate the breakdown and in contact. Frost is maybe next but Schmidt might go for a more physical lock who does their core work better like Ryan or LSL. Swain is no chance unless there’s a load of injuries. Pollard hasn’t got the scrum ability yet to be considered. Nasser dominated him when they went toe to toe and really showed him up. Picking Skelton effects who can play 6 and 8. Ideally Valetini would play 6 as that’s his best position and Wilson at 8 but that’s not ideal for lineout success. Cale isn’t physical enough yet in contact and defence but is the best backrow lineout jumper followed by Wright, Hanigan and Swinton so unfortunately Valetini probably will start at 8 with Wright or Hanigan at 6. Wilson on the bench, he’s got too much quality not to be in the squad. Paisami is leading the way at 12 but Hamish Stewart is playing extremely well also and his ball carrying has improved significantly. Beale is also another option based on the weekend. Beale is class but he’s also the best communicator of any Australian backline player and that can’t be underestimated, he’ll be in the mix.

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