French national rugby players hurt in machete attack

French rugby union internationals Aurelien Rougerie, 33, Julien Pierre,33 and Benjamin Kayser,29, were attacked by a dozen men wielding machetes and sabres on Sunday night (July 20).

The attack happened while they were walking back to their hotel.

Julien Pierre (Left) and Benjamin Kayser (Right) were attacked by a dozen men wielding machetes and sabres on Sunday night. Photo: AFP

According to an official statement released by their club, ASM Clermont, all three were rushed to a hospital in the southern French town of Millau for treatment.

While none of their injuries were life-threatening, Pierre had to undergo surgery for "deep cuts" to his hip.

“As they walked back to their hotel overnight Saturday, a group of players was assaulted by a dozen people carrying weapons including machetes, sabres,” the club said.

The players were briefly staying in Millau on their way to a training camp.

Police said the incident took place at around 3 am (local time) after the players went to a nightclub, where they may have had a row with other revellers.

French newspapers suggested the trio had helped a woman who was being harassed on the dance floor, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Jean-Marc Lhermet, ASM Clermont’s sporting director, told AFP the attack was “as unexpected as it was brutal.”

“No one was expecting that. The evening had gone really well,” he said, adding that Kayser and Rougerie were due to leave hospital on Sunday evening after sustaining injuries on their arms.

No one was immediately detained.

The club – one of the best in France – denounced an “extremely violent” incident.

“The entire club is deeply shocked and outraged by these acts and will bring all the necessary support to local authorities who have launched a probe,” it said.

All three have featured for the French national team with Pierre and Rougerie were part of the French team that lost the 2011 Rugby World Cup final. 

Sources: AFP, The Sydney Morning Herald