Clermont players injured in violent machete attack
France internationals Benjamin Kayser, Julien Pierre and Aurelien Rougerie hospitalised
Aurelien Rougerie of ASM Clermont Auvergne was among three France internationals violently attacked with ‘knives, machetes and sabres’. Photograph: Harry Engels/Getty Images
French rugby is in shock after it emerged three Clermont Auvergne players were hospitalised following an attack by a gang armed with “bladed weapons”.
The club said knives, machetes and sabres were used in the assault but that none of the players’ injuries are life-threatening.
However, a statement published on Clermont’s website said that Pierre had suffered “deep cuts” and that the 32-year-old secondrow was set to undergo a hip operation.
“While they were returning on foot to their hotel on Saturday night/Sunday morning, a group of Clermont players were attacked by around 10 individuals armed with bladed weapons including machetes and sabres.
“The whole of the club is both deeply shocked and outraged by these facts and will give all the support necessary to local authorities, who have opened an investigation into this attack in order to find and punish the assailants.
“In addition to the complaints filed individually by the players concerned, the club is also considering judicial proceedings.”
With the new Top 14 season only a month away, Clermont had stopped off in the tiny southern commune ahead of an upcoming training camp further south.
Kayser, a hooker, and Rougerie, the club captain last season, both sustained arm injuries.
“Benjamin and Aurelien should join the squad for the training camp and I think Julien Pierre will need a few extra weeks,” Clermont sporting manager Jean-Marc Lhermet told L’Equipe 21 TV.
“They were attacked in the middle of the night by around 10 individuals on scooters armed with shovels and machetes, who came upon them and left just as quickly... It was both quite incomprehensible and vicious.”
La Montagne reported that another group, who had been in the same establishment as the Clermont players, also had an altercation with the same aggressors.