The two French rugby players await questioning over sexual assault in Argentina. GETTY IMAGES

French rugby players Hugo Auradou and Oscar Jegou are awaiting questioning by Argentine prosecutors after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman. They claim it was consensual.


Hugo Auradou, 20, and Oscar Jegou, 21, were arrested last Monday, two days after the French team's 28-13 friendly win over Argentina in Mendoza, more than a thousand kilometres west of the capital.

The two players were arrested in Buenos Aires and are expected to be transferred to Mendoza, where the alleged sexual assault took place, as such crimes are dealt with by provincial courts under Argentina's federal system.

The President of the French Rugby Federation, Florian Grill, has travelled to Buenos Aires to closely follow the investigation into the incident reported in Mendoza.

Following the victim's testimony, they were charged with aggravated sexual abuse involving penetration by two or more persons.

According to the prosecutor's office, a medical examination revealed injuries consistent with the alleged victim's account, and they will be questioned to determine their legal status.

The men will also undergo a forensic examination, sources close to the investigation told AFP.

According to local media reports, the alleged attack took place on Saturday night at the Diplomatic Hotel in Mendoza, where the French players and staff were staying for the match.

Hugo Auradou of France is tackled during a test match between Argentina Pumas and France at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas. GETTY IMAGES
Hugo Auradou of France is tackled during a test match between Argentina Pumas and France at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas. GETTY IMAGES


The victim reportedly met Auradou at a nightclub in the city the night after the match. The woman claimed to have met Auradou at a club in the capital city of Mendoza, where she had gone after the match. After having a few drinks with the second-string player, she began to feel dizzy. Auradou then took her to the Diplomatic Hotel, where he was staying.

There, at the hotel, his team-mate Jegou is said to have entered the scene. The group attack is said to have begun shortly afterwards. The victim eventually managed to leave the hotel and filed a complaint, identifying the two detained players.

Mendoza prosecutor Daniela Chaler told LV10 radio on Tuesday that there were "convincing elements" in the woman's testimony and that her injuries were consistent with her version of events, although "not necessarily exclusively" sexual assault.

The players' lawyer, Rafael Cuneo Libarona, told AFP that the players admitted to having sexual relations with the complainant but insisted it was "consensual sex and at no time was there any sign of violence or anything like that".

"We will present evidence on behalf of the players, concrete evidence, and the Mendoza judiciary will decide whether or not to release the players," the defence lawyer said on Tuesday.

After the initial questioning, prosecutor Cecilia Bignert will have 24 hours to decide whether to formally charge the players. This period can be extended once for a further 24 hours.

Oscar Jegou, Lenni Nouchi, Hugo Auradou of France sing the national anthem prior to a test match between Los Pumas and France on 6 July 2024. GETTY IMAGES
Oscar Jegou, Lenni Nouchi, Hugo Auradou of France sing the national anthem prior to a test match between Los Pumas and France on 6 July 2024. GETTY IMAGES


If charged, the players could be remanded in custody until a preliminary hearing 10 days later to determine whether they will be remanded in custody pending trial or released.

Within the 10 days, they can request bail or house arrest, Mendoza prosecutor's office spokesman Martin Ahumada told AFP.

Reasons for requesting preventive detention include the risk of the accused obstructing the investigation if released, or the risk of fleeing justice.

In the case of the French players, "it can be assumed that they have the means" to leave Argentina, Ahumada said, suggesting a high risk of flight amid the criminal proceedings.

The French Rugby Federation (FFR) also said that the players denied any coercion or violence.

"If the facts are true, they are incredibly serious," the federation's Florian Grill told reporters in Argentina, while stressing that the investigation must take its course.

The players, aged 21 and 20, will be transferred to the city of Mendoza to give their statements to the judge and will remain in custody in a cell in Buenos Aires. The transfer is imminent, although the distance makes it slower than usual.

The French Minister for Sport, Amelie Oudea-Castera, wrote on X: "If the investigation confirms the alleged facts, they constitute an indescribable atrocity. Our thoughts are with the victim.

Martin Ahumada, spokesman for the Mendoza prosecutor's office, told AFP that if the investigation "confirms the victim's testimony, charges will be filed".

France's rugby flanker Oscar Jegou blocks a teammate during a training session in San Isidro, Buenos Aires province, Argentina on July 2024.GETTY IMAGES
France's rugby flanker Oscar Jegou blocks a teammate during a training session in San Isidro, Buenos Aires province, Argentina on July 2024.GETTY IMAGES


If charged, the players could be held in custody pending trial, which would be held behind closed doors and could carry a sentence of up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

This is not the first scandal involving young French rugby players. Last year, Auradou and Jegou were part of the French squad that won the U20 World Cup in South Africa.

La Rochelle flanker Jegou was suspended by the French Anti-Doping Agency last autumn after testing positive for cocaine. He explained that he had used the substance at a party.

The arrests come a day after a racism scandal led to the exclusion of full-back Melvyn Jaminet from France's squad for Argentina.

Jaminet, 25, who played seven minutes and scored a penalty against Los Pumas, was dropped after a video of him making racist remarks went viral on social media.

The FFR condemned his comments in the video as "totally unacceptable and contrary to the fundamental values of our sport".