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Captain Dupont back in France squad after cheekbone surgery

PARIS - Antoine Dupont is returning to the France World Cup squad after the captain underwent surgery on a broken cheekbone, the French federation said on Saturday.

The mercurial scrumhalf has been cleared to resume physical activity, the federation said in a statement.

"Following the post-surgery medical check-up that took place yesterday, Antoine has been cleared to resume progressive physical activity," the statement read. "This activity will take place under the supervision of the French national team's medical staff."

Dupont underwent surgery last week and the French camp is hoping he will be able to play in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Oct. 14 or 15, likely against defending champions South Africa, although no decision has been made yet.

He will miss France's final Pool A game against Italy on Friday.

Dupont's injury, sustained in last week's record 96-0 win over Namibia, put another massive dent in French hopes of winning a first world title after the loss of flyhalf Romain Ntamack.

Maxime Lucu or Baptiste Couilloud will deputise at scrumhalf for Les Bleus' game against Italy, who were hammered 96-17 by New Zealand on Friday.

France lead Pool A with 13 points, with second-placed New Zealand on 10, ahead of Italy on points difference. REUTERS