French rugby mourns death of fourth young player in months

French rugby was left mourning the death of a 23-year-old student on Monday, the fourth young player to have died in eight months.

French rugby mourns death of fourth young player in months
Photo: AFP

Nathan Soyeux, who was not registered with the French rugby federation (FFR), passed away in Dijon on Sunday, having been admitted to hospital after an adverse reaction to a tackle in a match at a tournament for engineering schools on November 24.

Soyeux sustained the blow whilst being tackled by an opponent and was at first able to sit up before complaining of nausea and then losing consciousness.

Taken to Dijon hospital, the player was put in an induced coma for two weeks, but his health deteriorated following efforts to bring him around, according to his engineering school, Esirem.

Soyeux becomes the fourth young French player since May to die after being injured during a match.

In December, Stade Francais youth flanker Nicolas Chauvin, 18, died after breaking his neck. In August Louis Fajfrowski, 21, died following a heavy tackle playing for Aurillac and in May 17-year-old Adrien Descrulhes passed away a day after receiving a blow to the head playing for amateur club Billom.

Chauvin's death prompted France's Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu to call on rugby authorities to make the game safer, with the former Olympic swimmer saying she would meet FFR president Bernard Laporte to discuss ways of preventing more deaths.

The FFR confirmed in December it will put together a global forum alongside World Rugby, the sport's governing body, to discuss player health and the evolution of the game's laws in March 2019 in France.

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French rugby players grilled by Scottish police after Edinburgh sexual assault claim

UPDATED: The plane that was due to fly France's rugby team home from Scotland on Monday was blocked at the airport after British police asked to question a number of players as "potential witnesses" to an alleged sexual assault.

French rugby players grilled by Scottish police after Edinburgh sexual assault claim

France's flight back to Paris on Monday was delayed after police removed several players from the plane for questioning over an incident in Edinburgh on Sunday night.

Initial reports in the French and Scottish media suggested the players were questioned over an alleged brawl, reportedly with Scottish supporters, at the end of a night out in the Scottish capital following their team's 32- 26 defeat at the hands of Scotland in the Six Nations tournament.

But a statement from police later on Monday said the players were questioned as “potential witnesses” to an alleged sexual assault.

“Following an initial report of sexual assault in Edinburgh city centre during the early hours of Monday 12th February police conducted various lines of inquiry, including speaking to a number of potential witnesses,” a statement from Police Scotland said.

“These inquiries have established that no crime has been committed.”

France's Rugby Federation earlier confirmed that several players were being questioned by police and that they were waiting for more information.

La FFR confirme que certains joueurs sont entendus par les autorités Écossaises. Nous sommes en attente de plus d'informations.

— FF Rugby (@FFRugby) February 12, 2018

Reports suggest the French rugby team's coach Jacques Brunel had given his team the green light to go for a drink in the centre of Edinburgh on Sunday night. 

The French news site Rugbyrama said several players were seen “tipsy” in the Tiger Lily bar on George Street.

The site claimed that on returning to the hotel that members of the team were involved in a fight with Scottish supporters, but this was not confirmed by police.