Jegou and Auradou affair: the Blues between “shock” and “trauma”: News

The arrest in Argentina of two young players from the French XV, Oscar Jegou and Hugo Auradou, accused of sexual assault which they deny, “was experienced as a trauma”, according to the coach of the Blues Fabien Galthié.

“For the group, for the delegation, it was experienced as a trauma, a form of shock when we heard the news and when the police arrived at the hotel in Buenos Aires. It was a very difficult day, very, very hard. A very difficult moment to live through,” said the coach at a press conference in Montevideo on the eve of a friendly match against Uruguay.

Pau second row Hugo Auradou, 20, and La Rochelle third row Oscar Jegou, 21, are in police custody in Buenos Aires and are due to be transferred on Wednesday to be questioned in Mendoza (central-west), the scene of the alleged attack where the French played their first match of their tour on Saturday against the Argentine selection.

In Mendoza, “we will present evidence in favor of the players, evidence that we have, concrete, and the justice of Mendoza will then decide whether or not to release the players,” their lawyer, Rafael Cuneo Libarona, told AFP.

According to the local press, the alleged attack on a young woman took place in the hours following the match, on the night of Saturday to Sunday, at the Diplomatic Hotel in Mendoza, where the players and staff were staying.

Unnamed police sources told AFP that the players met the alleged victim in a bar after the match. After a few drinks, the young woman reportedly felt dizzy and was taken to the hotel, where she was allegedly attacked.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the French Rugby Federation said that FFR President Florian Grill and Vice-President Jean-Marc Lhermet had met with the two players.

“The latter confirmed having had sexual relations with the young woman during the night but firmly denied any form of violence,” the authority said.

Fabien Galthié himself wanted to remind people that “the first thing is to address the victim, we have a thought for the victim”, before emphasizing: “the living environment, I repeat, is a job that must be consolidated on a daily basis, tirelessly. Repeat and work without compromise on respect for the rules, good manners in society and freedom”.

The attorney general of Mendoza (central-west) had earlier indicated that “the statement (of the alleged victim) was quite long, complete, detailed and corresponded, for the time being, to the forensic conclusions.”

“The injuries are consistent with the victim’s story, but not necessarily exclusively the result of a sexual assault,” added the magistrate, who requested that the two players be remanded in custody.

According to the spokesman for the Mendoza prosecutor’s office, Martin Ahumada, Hugo Auradou and Oscar Jegou could face up to 20 years in prison.

– “Leave the investigation” –

Having just arrived in Buenos Aires on Tuesday, Florian Grill, who was due to accompany Fabien Galthié’s Blues to Montevideo, told AFP that he was staying in the Argentine capital to “manage” the matter.

“There is an investigation underway. The fact that we are here with Jean-Marc (Lhermet, Editor’s note) is a good thing. We will be able to support and facilitate this investigation,” Grill had told a few journalists earlier, including AFP.

“If the facts are proven, they are incredibly serious. We must spare a thought for the young woman. It is the opposite of everything that rugby is, everything that rugby does, everything that rugby builds (…) but we must let the investigation, which is necessary, take place,” he added.

“If the investigation establishes the facts alleged, they constitute an unspeakable atrocity. My thoughts are with the victim,” wrote Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, the Minister of Sports, on the social network X.

Florian Grill clarified that “for the moment, the continuation of the tour” was not in question. The French XV, with a largely rejuvenated group and without its executives, must once again challenge the Pumas on Saturday in Buenos Aires.

The arrest of Jegou and Auradou came the day after full-back Melvyn Jaminet was sidelined from the tour and sent back to France after racist remarks in a video published on Sunday, for which he later said he was “deeply sorry and ashamed”.

Comments described by the FFR as “totally unacceptable and contrary to the fundamental values ​​of our sport”.

For Fabien Galthié, it is “difficult today to send a message in these conditions, we must play, wear the jersey, continue to get through this difficult period”.

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