France drop nine players from Six Nations squad

  • France coach Jacques Brunel has dropped nine stars from his Six Nations squad
  • The French Rugby Federation said players had been sanctioned for going out 
  • They were delayed leaving Edinburgh when players were questioned by police

Harry Slavin For Mailonline

France coach Jacques Brunel has axed eight players from his Six Nations squad after their flight home from Scotland was delayed when players were questioned by police over a reported sexual assault. 

Louis Picamoles, Anthony Belleau, Jonathan Danty, Remi Lamerat, and Felix Lambey were all questioned by officers in Edinburgh, who determined that no crime had been committed after their enquiries, following up reports of a brawl at a city-centre bar in Edinburgh. 

All five, along with Sekou Macalou,Arthur Iturria and winger Teddy Thomas — who has scored all three tries for Les Bleus in the tournament — have been omitted from the squad to face Italy in Marseille on February 23. 

Alex Lapandry has also been left out for tactical reasons, with hooker Camille Chat coming back in after recovering from illness. 

France have omitted six players from their squad to face Italy, including winger Teddy Thomas 

France have omitted six players from their squad to face Italy, including winger Teddy Thomas 

France have omitted six players from their squad to face Italy, including winger Teddy Thomas 

The French Rugby Federation (FFR) revealed players had been sanctioned for heading out into Edinburgh on Sunday night, although they did not specifically name those who had been penalised. 

Flanker Yacouba Camara, who was also part of police enquiries, has been included in the 32-man group. 

The FFR said in a statement on Tuesday: ‘Jacques Brunel has decided to exclude from that list the players who went out after the defeat in Scotland. 

‘By this inappropriate behaviour, they have disrespected their status as an international player and the duties that go with it.’

Brunel and his squad were due to fly back to Paris at 11am on the Monday morning but saw their flight grounded and delayed for two hours as Police Scotland carried out their questioning. 

The alleged incident occurred hours after Les Bleus had lost a pulsating encounter 32-26 against Scotland at Murrayfield — their second defeat of this campaign. 

France were defeated 32-26 by Scotland at Murrayfield in the Six Nations on Sunday

France were defeated 32-26 by Scotland at Murrayfield in the Six Nations on Sunday

France were defeated 32-26 by Scotland at Murrayfield in the Six Nations on Sunday

A statement on Monday by Police Scotland said: ‘Following an initial report of sexual assault in Edinburgh city centre during the early hours of Monday, February 12, police conducted various lines of inquiry, including speaking to a number of potential witnesses. These inquiries have established no crime has been committed.’

Brunel has been able to include centre Mathieu Bastareaud for the first time this tournament in his squad.

The 29-year-old had been suspended for the first two fixtures after he was cited for using homophobic language towards an opponent. 

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