Rugby World Cup 2023 – Monday editorial: “Everyone is talking about it”

Antoine Dupont, hit in the face against Namibia, launched his arrow of time, an arrow which we hope will point towards the quarter-final.

Thursday evening in Marseille, Antoine Dupont planted both knees in the lawn of the Vélodrome and the earth began to tremble under our feet, happily crossing the borders of our “mundillo”. Because the scrum half and captain of the Blues is usually always on his feet, tough as hell, rarely injured. And because he has become the perfect icon of French rugby: its lucky charm, the driving force and guarantee of its ambitions. Quite simply his star.

This weekend, we just had to listen to listen to the emotion and tension that was oozing all around us about Antoine, whom everyone calls by his first name as we affectionately called “Zizou” (Zidane). , Jonah (Lomu), “Domi” (Dominici) or Serge (Blanco). Because these people are one of us, by dint of having touched us. It was enough to consult the record audiences of to gauge the immense concern aroused by the injury (fracture of the right cheekbone) and the loss which seemed likely to result from it.

Finally, a corner of blue sky opened on Saturday after this surgical operation which gives rise to the hope of a return of the prodigy for the quarter-finals or the semi-finals. We’ll see, if all goes well, because there’s obviously nothing certain, but it’s enough to ease the disappointment and keep the collective flame alive.

Because Antoine Dupont can still believe in his chances of playing in his World Cup, and even of winning it. Because in its wake, all of France can cling to this sweet dream of a historic first and a capital jubilation to share. Yes, hope is intact and, let us repeat, this is the essential thing for the XV of France to maintain its compass.

Without waiting for the outcome, it is the first witness to a chance that could once again smile on the coach, Fabien Galthié. The one on whom everything was smiling since the start of his mandate and who was overtaken by the difficulties at the start of 2023, from the Haouas affair to the Chalureau file including the disappointed hope of being able to select Meafou, by the packages of Ntamack and Willemse or the injuries that have accumulated in recent weeks.

This hope which sticks to the destiny of Antoine Dupont therefore comes at the right time to turn the tricolor wheel of fortune. And convince us of one thing: French rugby, usually so surly at the idea of ​​giving in to the starization of its own players, is today riding the “Dupont” wave with good heart and in full awareness. May he do it for as long as possible, in the wake of an extraordinary player who, again on Thursday evening, transformed the French collective, and who we will inevitably miss against Italy. The rest remains to be written but the cause is open and the challenge taken up: we must try everything to find Antoine Dupont, standing, on the field by the end of the World Cup. Touched but not sunk, he said it!

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