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Biarritz signs disgraced French prop Haouas

NEWS: Disgraced French prop Mohamed Haouas will play for second tier Biarritz next season after he and Top 14 outfit Clermont came to a severance agreement, according to French media on Saturday.

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The 29-year-old 16-times capped Haouas was sentenced to 18 months in prison — nine of them suspended — on Friday for aggravated assault.

It was the second custodial sentence he had received in two months — he was handed a one year prison term last month for hitting his wife.

The latter offence had prompted Clermont to refuse to honour his contract he had signed after leaving Montpellier.

Although a tribunal found in Haouas’s favour on Monday that Clermont had to stand by the contract — which came into force on Saturday — the two parties have come to an agreement which satisfies them both.

According to L’Equipe newspaper they came to a financial arrangement.

“Clermont can confirm that Mohamed Haouas will not wear its colours next season,” the club said in a statement.

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“There no longer exists any ties between the prop and the club.”

Biarritz have signed Haouas on a two year deal despite his prison sentences — his lawyer has appealed the second one even though he conceded the punishment was “not harsh”.

The prosecutor had labelled Haouas and the five other defendants as acting like a “pack of wolves” with him as the leader when they set upon a nightclub boss outside a bakery in Montpellier on January 1 2014.

“One sees clearly that he is the most involved, that he inflicts the most aggressive punches,” Haouas’s lawyer Marc Gallix said on Friday.

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“If one adds the nine months from today’s judgement to the 12 months for the marital violence, if I do not appeal and the punishment is definitive, he will go to prison,” he added.

A judge is set to rule in the autumn on how Haouas should serve his sentence for assaulting his wife.

Gallix said it would be preferable if Haouas did not have to wear a bracelet and instead was allowed to be out due to parental duties — he could also undergo psychological counselling and a marital violence awareness course.

This would permit him to “exercise his profession,” said Gallix.

It is quite a fall from grace for Haouas who for a while was undisputed first choice for France head coach Fabien Galthie.

He even regained his place in the squad after receiving a suspended 18-month sentence in 2022 for his role in a series of burglaries in 2014.

However, following his conviction for assaulting his wife, Galthie told him there was no possibility of him being selected for the squad for the Rugby World Cup which takes place later this year and is being hosted by France.

Haouas had already blotted his copybook on two occasions on the pitch for France, twice being sent off in Six Nations matches with Scotland — the latter one earlier this year.

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