Four men detained over French machete attack
Police have detained four men over an alleged machete attack on three test rugby stars in the city of Millau in the south of France.
Aurélien Rougerie, Julien Pierre and Benjamin Kayser - who all play for France - were in Millau for pre-season training with club Clermont when they were set upon by up to 12 men in the early hours of Sunday morning (local time) as they walked back to their hotel from a nightclub.
The club said machetes, swords and knives were used in the attack that left all three hospitalised and Pierre requiring surgery for deep cuts to his hips.
AFP has reported that four men have been detained for questioning.
All were aged between 20 and 25 and their detention was expected to be extended for 24 hours, a deputy prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Cherif Chabbi, told the news agency.
French newspaper Midi Libre reported that a 21-year-old fifth suspect was also taken into custody and questioned. Police have not confirmed that.
The police confirmed that three members of the public had also been injured in the attack as they went to the aid of the rugby players.
Newspaper reports have suggested the attack was sparked by a dance floor incident earlier in the evening at the nightclub.
Rougerie and Kayser, nursing arm and hand wounds, rejoined their Clermont squad for a training camp in the Pyrenees yesterday though they wouldn't be fit to play for three or four weeks.
Pierre was kept in hospital for an extra day after surgery and was expected to return to Clermont-Ferrand. He would be sidelined for a month.
Jean-Marc Lhermet, ASM Clermont's sporting director, told AFP the attack was "unexpected" and "brutal".
"No one was expecting that. The evening had gone really well," he said.