Euro tributes for dead teenager
REACTION: Professional clubs across Europe will pay tribute this weekend to Nicolas Chauvin, the young Stade Francais player who died after breaking his neck in a youth match last Sunday.
European Professional Club Rugby said in a statement on Friday that a minute’s silence would be observed for the 18-year-old before the kick-offs of this weekend’s Champions Cup, Challenge Cup and Continental Shield fixtures.
Stade Francais is honouring Chauvin by offering free entry for Friday’s Challenge Cup meeting with Ospreys in Paris.
Chauvin is the third young French player this year to die after being injured during a match, prompting France’s sports minister to call
on rugby authorities to make the game safer.
Roxana Maracineanu said she would meet the president of the French rugby federation, Bernard Laporte, to discuss ways of preventing more deaths.
“A third young player has died on a rugby field, the first since I became sports minister, and that is too much,” Maracineanu told journalists.
Chauvin died in hospital after suffering a broken neck which triggered a heart attack during a match in Bordeaux on Sunday.
In August Louis Fajfrowski, 21, died following a heavy tackle playing for Aurillac. Three months earlier a 17-year-old died a day after receiving a blow to the head playing for amateur club Billom.
“It is time the sport adapts its rules to protect younger players from the risks,” Maracineanu said.
The French Rugby Federation (FFR) has responded by asking World Rugby to hold a special meeting dedicated to safety as soon as possible.
Rugby is a contact sport involving major impacts between players colliding at speed, meaning injuries can occur even when no foul play takes place.
Without drawing a direct link to the dangers of the sport, federation chief Laporte said that young people were quitting rugby in significant numbers.
“We have lost five percent of our registered players in the past year. We must put a stop to this collapse,” he said.
He said the fall in participation was 10 percent for men, with a rise in female participation bringing the overall figure up to five percent.
The former national coach said the federation would invest 10 million euros in improving rugby coaching in schools while counting on the staging of the 2023 World Cup in France to revive interest among the young.