By Lucky Maree
Four days after the devastating injury to Antoine Dupont the French rugby authorities have still not yet announced if the brilliant scrumhalf will play again in this World Cup.
What they have said is Dupont underwent surgery on his jaw and he will rejoin France’s Rugby World Cup squad.
The injury occurred when Namibian captain Johan Deysel attempted to tackle Dupont and their heads clashed. Watching it live, it was immediately clear that it was a brutal collision and there would be serious injuries.
Deysel was yellow carded and, not surprisingly, the yellow was upgraded to red after review.
Here’s what Deysel told reporters afterwards:
“I would like to extend my best wishes to Antoine Dupont. Clearly, I meant no harm,” he said.
“Everything happened very quickly and I couldn’t get my head out of the way quick enough, resulting in a clash. I know the rules and knew immediately I was at fault.”
He said he spoke to French coach Fabien Galthie immediately after the match and sent his best wishes and apologies to Dupont personally and via France’s team doctor.
All in all, a tragic rugby incident.
As Deysel admitted, he was at fault and he accepted the ruling.
Whether players should be sent off for any infringement is a debate that will continue for years to come (and will probably never be resolved), but the problem lies in making Deysel out to be a villain.
Starting with the terminology, it is an evil mistake to call it “foul play”.
A clash of heads in the middle of a loose scrum or during a tackle should not be labelled foul play. Foul play is when a player lines up another player and hits with a fist to the chin.
Calling the collision between Dupont and Deysel foul play implies that Deysel wanted to injure his opponent.
It adds fuel to a fire that is already very volatile.
And if the refs apply the term foul play in the true sense of the word, then Deysel should not have been sent off but only cautioned.
If an infringement is deemed not deliberate, that in itself should already be a mitigating circumstance.
Perhaps if it wasn’t instantly labelled foul play, players wouldn’t get sent off that easily.
Pictured above: Antoine Dupont
Image source: Twitter