Bastien Chalureau, the French rugby player who is appealing against a six-month jail term for a racially motivated attack, has made his first public comment since being named in the World Cup squad. The Montpellier lock, who has played six times for France, broke down in tears as he denied being racist and said he had already paid for his actions.
Chalureau was convicted in 2020 for assaulting two other players, Yannick Larguet and Nassim Arif, after a night out in Toulouse. The judge ruled that the attack was based on the race of the victims. Chalureau admitted the attack but said it had nothing to do with race. He is contesting the verdict and the sentence.
Chalureau was chosen by France head coach Fabien Galthie as a replacement for the injured Paul Willemse in the 33-man squad. His selection sparked controversy among some former players and fans, who doubted his suitability to represent the country.
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Former France captain Thierry Dusautoir, who led France to the 2011 World Cup final and is a friend of one of the victims, said he had always had an issue with Chalureau playing for France. “I’m aware that I’m not objective in this,” he told Canal Plus.
is France player justification is enough?
Chalureau spoke to the media on Monday and said he wanted to clear his name and address his teammates and family. ‘I am not a racist, those are not my values,’ he said. I have accepted my mistakes, settled my debts, and rejected all allegations of racism.”
Additionally, he said that the France coaching staff and management were fully aware of his case and supported him. He said that he had discussed the matter with the French team staff. Several people are aware of this old case and knew it from the start.
He added that he was proud to play for France and that rugby was a sport that brought people together from all backgrounds. “I am not a racist, I unite people. The beauty of rugby is it unites people from all communities,” he said.
Chalureau’s comments came after World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin also spoke on the matter earlier on Monday. Rugby has no place for discrimination, and certainly [not] for racism,” he said. Respecting the legal process is important.
Chalureau made his Test debut last November, as a late replacement in a 30-26 win over reigning world champions South Africa in Marseille. He is expected to play in France’s opening game of the World Cup against New Zealand on Friday 8 September in Paris.
France are hoping to win the World Cup for the first time in their history, after losing three finals in 1987, 1999 and 2011. They are in Pool A with New Zealand, Italy, Canada and Namibia.