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The two 'parameters' Antoine Dupont's mask must meet

By Ian Cameron
Antoine Dupont of Team France reacts during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between France and Italy at Parc Olympique on October 06, 2023 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)

France have confirmed that injured captain Antoine Dupont has been trying out various forms of facial protection masks as he prepares for a likely return to the field against South Africa in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

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Dupont became a doubt for the remainder of his country’s home Rugby World Cup after suffering the facial injury during a 96-0 win over Namibia on September 21.

However, his comeback is right on schedule and has been given the ‘greenlight’ to resume training by his surgeon and France medical staff.

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Eddie Jones post-match presser after final match

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Eddie Jones post-match presser after final match

“We will keep on working with him to make sure that he’s in the best position before the head coach makes his decisions (on the team selection). He had some contact with tackle pads with the fitness staff. Now he’s going to be back to normal training,” said France medical director Bruno Boussagol.

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“The workload might be increased. I haven’t seen his individual programme. He will be at the staff disposal on the pitch.

“The key factor is apprehension. We need to remain close to Antoine and help him across the board for him to be in the best position to apply for selection. I think that the head coach will have a discussion with him and that it will be a joint reflection.”

There has been much conjecture in the media about whether Dupont will wear a face mask and France has confirmed that he has been trying out various forms of specialist head gear, but they are adamant that it must not compromise either his hearing or his vision.

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“The option of wearing a helmet was indeed discussed. We’re working on it. He has received and has tested this kind of protection equipment. There are two key points: his vision and hearing shouldn’t be affected. These two parameters need to be tested in real conditions.”

Facial protection is permitted under World Rugby ‘head gear’ regulations, once they meet strict specifications. Gear outside the ‘the crown, temple, forehead (sweatband area) and ear areas’ do not need to be impact tested but they must adhere to the following speicifications: “Areas outside designated zones of coverage do not have to meet impact requirements but must be of soft foam or leather and be less than or equal to 5mm in thickness. Where this overall thickness consists of padded material covered by fabric, 5 mm is the maximum measured thickness for the combination of the uncompressed padding and the fabric.”

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