Sorting by


France lock fighting racist assault conviction given Rugby World Cup vote of confidence

STADE PIERRE MAUROY — Bastien Chalureau looks set to have won over the French public, at least the rugby-goers, after he was given a warm reception on his Rugby World Cup debut for France in their clash with Uruguay.

Chalurueau was a late call-up to France’s squad, replacing injured lock Paul Willemse, and a divisive one too.

In 2020, he was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of a an assault on two men, which the court in Toulouse found was racially motivated. The 31-year-old accepted the assault happened but is contesting judgment on the grounds that the acts were not committed because of race.

But 48,821 of the French rugby-going public made their feelings clear when he was introduced in the 50th minute, welcoming him to the pitch with applause and cheers louder than for the other replacements.

And Chalureau could yet have a significant role to play in this World Cup; with Willemse already out, Romain Taofifenua could be facing a ban after being yellow-carded for a tackle to the head of Santiago Arata, a challenge that on another night might have seen him shown red.

If Taofifenua is banned, it will leave Chalureau as the third-choice lock behind Thibaut Flament and Cameron Woki.

Even before he had played a minute of rugby, Chalureau’s inclusion had made headlines. Thierry Dusautoir, half-Ivorian and born in the Cote d’Ivoire, said he “always had a problem with him in the French team” and president Emmanuel Macron even confronted head coach Fabien Galthie about it, telling him: “We don’t want the controversy getting out of hand.”

Galthie replied that he “had to say things” and promptly put Chalureau up to face the media that evening, resulting in an emotional plea to the public.

“I wanted to come out in public and address all my team-mates, my family… as it does not just affect me, it affects my family.

“That is why I wanted to appear before you today, to clarify the situation.

“I am not a racist, I bring people together. The beauty of rugby is it brings together people from all communities

“He recognised the violent acts, but still denies the racist remarks,” French Rugby Federation president Florian Grill said.

“He’s appealed the decision and we have to allow the law to run its course, that’s our position.”

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button