Tearful France star Bastien Chalureau insists ‘I’m not a racist’ after controversial call-up for Rugby World Club following his conviction for racially motivated attack
- Bastien Chalureau has denied accusations he is a racist after World Cup call-up
- Lock was added to 33-man squad following injury withdrawal of Paul Willemse
- He is appealing against his conviction for a racially-motivated attack in 2020
- Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results
France lock Bastien Chalureau has denied accusations he is racist following his controversial call-up for the Rugby World Cup.
The 31-year-old Montpellier player is appealing against a suspended six-month prison sentence for a racially-motivated attack in 2020.
Chalureau, who has six Test caps, was added to Les Bleus’ 33-man squad by head coach Fabien Galthie following the injury withdrawal of Paul Willemse.
‘I am not a racist, I do not have those values,’ he told a press conference on Monday.
‘What I want to say to you is that I confessed to my mistakes, that I paid my debts and I deny all claims about racist remarks.’
France lock Bastien Chalureau has denied accusations he is a racist after World Cup call-up
The lock was added to Les Bleus’ 33-man squad following injury withdrawal of Paul Willemse
While visiting the squad on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron was recorded telling head coach Galthie: ‘We don’t want the controversy getting out of hand.’
Chalureau, who at times was tearful during his press conference, said France’s coaching staff and management were fully aware of the assault, which led to him leaving former club Toulouse.
‘We discussed the matter with the French team staff,’ he said.
‘They knew from the start, it is an old case and known by a lot of people.
‘I wanted to come out in public and address all my team-mates, my family as it does not just affect me.
‘I am not a racist, I bring people together. The beauty of rugby is it brings together people from all communities.’
Chalureau struggled to hold back tears as he discussed the matter during a press conference
Chalureau made his international debut in November as a late replacement in a 30-26 win over reigning world champions South Africa in Marseille.
Former national team captain Thierry Dusautoir, a friend of one of the victims of the attack, said he has never supported the second-row forward playing for France.
‘I’ve always had a problem with him being in the French national team,’ Dusautoir told Canal Plus. ‘I’m aware that I’m not objective in this.’
France begin their home World Cup on Friday evening by hosting New Zealand in Paris.
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