A facial injury to captain Antoine Dupont took the gloss off France’s highest-ever score, a 96-0 romp against hapless Namibia at the Rugby World Cup on Thursday.
There were 13 tries, including a penalty try, and Thomas Ramos converted 11 of 12.
The Rugby World Cup’s seventh highest score was marred by Dupont’s game-ending injury, after he was in a head-on-head collision with Namibia captain Johan Deysel in the 45th minute. Deysel was yellow-carded for the dangerous upright hit while Dupont walked off to tears.
A suspected broken cheekbone would sideline him for three weeks, which coincides with the quarter-finals. But coach Fabien Galthie will be second-guessed for leaving his best player on the field while the team was leading 54-0.
Deysel’s yellow card was upgraded to red by a bunker review. By coincidence, Namibia’s only previous Rugby World Cup red card was to Jacques Nieuwenhuis in 2007 also against France, which went on to achieve its previous record test score, 87-10.
The heavy-hitters who made the scoreboard this time included winger Damian Penaud with a hat trick, and winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey, centre Jonathan Danty and flanker Charles Ollivon who grabbed two each.
The other try scorers in the Marseille mauling were lock Thibaud Flament, replacement scrumhalf Baptiste Couilloud, replacement fullback Melyvn Jaminet and a last-gasp penalty try.
Penaud’s try-scoring run extended to six games and gave him a national record 13 in a calendar year, beating Phillipe Saint-Andre’s record from 1995, and put him one ahead of Saint-Andre for Les Tricolores with 33 tries overall.
France extended Namibia’s tournament losing run to a record 25 games.
Les Tricolores opened the tournament beating New Zealand 27-13 and followed with an uninspiring 27-12 victory against Uruguay. That game drew criticism and so Galthie picked a full-strength side which had the four-try bonus point inside 20 minutes.
France’s last pool game is against Italy on Oct. 6, when Penaud will look to overtake winger Vincent Clerc on 34 tries and move closer to France’s record-holder Serge Blanco on 38.
Allister Coetzee’s Namibia lost 52-8 to Italy before being overwhelmed 71-3 by the All Blacks, and concludes against Uruguay in Lyon next Wednesday.