Namibia captain Johan Deysel has apologised to Antoine Dupont after their clash of heads led to the France scrum-half sustaining a facial fracture.
The two clashed heads in the 46th minute of France's 96-0 win over Namibia on Thursday in Marseille, with Deysel shown a red card for the incident and Dupont forced off the field.
The France captain went to hospital and scans revealed the facial fracture on Friday. He will now return to Toulouse to visit a surgeon where it will be established how long he will be out of the tournament for and whether he stands any chance of playing a further role in this competition.
The news comes as a bitter blow both to France's hopes of winning the competition and also the tournament itself, with Dupont arguably the world's best men's player at present and the face of the tournament.
France now holds its breath on whether Dupont will be fit to play a part in the knockouts, but Deysel has sent his best wishes to the young scrum-half.
"I would like to extend my best wishes to Antoine Dupont," Deysel said. "Clearly, I meant no harm. Everything happened very quickly and I couldn't get my head out of the way quick enough, resulting in a head clash.
"I know the rules and immediately knew that I was at fault. I spoke with coach Fabien Galthié immediately after the match and sent my best wishes and apologies to Antoine both personally and via the France team doctor. He is a great player and person and I wish him a speedy recovery."
Deysel received online abuse following the incident and Namibia head coach Allister Coetzee has offered his support to the centre.
"Johan Deysel is a great and experienced leader with a clean history regarding cards and foul play," Coetzee said.
"He is a good person and captain with no malice. While I appreciate that fan emotions can run high, I would like to reiterate that his actions were not to cause harm. He was attempting to execute a tackle. We are united behind him."
It's been the hot topic at the World Cup on Friday with coaches and players from other teams asked for their thoughts on Dupont's injury.
"I haven't really looked at what's happened to Dupont. Hopefully he's going to be OK," Wales coach Warren Gatland said.
"The World Cup needs a player like him to be there past the group stages. He's world class. I don't know the extent of the injury. I haven't been focusing on any other team, I have only been focusing on us."