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Two France rugby players arrested over sexual abuse allegation after woman ‘strangled and beaten’

Oscar Jegou holds the ball during the captain's run
Oscar Jegou (right) has been detained in Buenos Aires - AFP/Andres Larroverre

Oscar Jegou and Hugo Auradou, two France players, were arrested in Argentina on Monday following an allegation of sexual abuse that reportedly left a young woman strangled and beaten.

Jegou and Auradou, aged 21 and 20, both started for France in their 28-13 win over Los Pumas in Mendoza on Saturday.

The allegations, which was reported by a young woman from Mendoza, were made after a party took place that night at the city’s Diplomatic Hotel where Fabien Galthié’s squad were staying.

Having travelled to Buenos Aires with the rest of the France squad, the players will be transferred back to Mendoza to be charged.

The operation is said to have been fast-tracked to stop Jegou and Auradou from leaving the country, with France due to play against Uruguay in Montevideo on Wednesday.

“Today a commission from the province of Mendoza is travelling to Buenos Aires to bring them and proceed with doing the relevant examinations,” said Martin Ahumada, a spokesman for the Mendoza prosecutor’s office.

“If the examinations align with the testimony of the victim, the related charge will be made,” he told Agence France-Presse.

Local publication MDZ outlined that the players met the alleged victim at a nightclub before returning to the Diplomatic Hotel. There, MDZ has reported, developed a “wild situation” with “a lot of violence”, leaving the alleged victim strangled and beaten.

The law firm of attorney Natacha Romano, which will represent the victim, is quoted as claiming that “there is a lot of genetic evidence”.

“If the facts are proven, they are incredibly serious. You must spare a thought for the young woman,” said French Rugby Federation (FFR) president Florian Grill in an impromptu press conference on Monday night.

“It’s the opposite of everything that rugby is, of everything that rugby does, of everything that rugby builds... But you must let the investigation, which is necessary, take place,” he added.

The FFR has been contacted for comment.

RMC Sport reported on Tuesday that Jegou’s representative informed the French media outlet that the player denies any sexual violence or aggression.

The agent confirmed to RMC that a sexual liaison between the two players and the young woman did take place but that it was entirely consensual. The morning after the alleged incident, the young woman headed immediately to the police station, with Jegou’s agent telling RMC Sport he believes the players were “victims of a scam which sometimes happens in Argentina, targeting high-profile personalities”.

The arrests came a day after a racism scandal that saw France full-back Melvyn Jaminet sent home from the tour. Jaminet was removed after a video of him making racist comments emerged on social media.

“I promise, the first Arab I see on the road, I’ll headbutt him,” Jaminet is filmed as saying in the Instagram video.

Jaminet subsequently apologised for his remarks after being kicked out of the squad.

“I am deeply sorry and ashamed of my comments,” Jaminet said on Instagram. “Racism, in all its forms, is unacceptable and goes against everything I believe in.

“I understand the FFR’s punishment and remain at their disposition to be able to shine a light on this incident.”