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Chris Farrell steps back from Munster duty due to legal proceedings in France

The 29-year-old is an alleged witness to an alleged rape in 2017.

Munster's Chris Farrell.
Munster's Chris Farrell.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

MUNSTER HAVE ANNOUNCED that Ireland international centre Chris Farrell will not be involved with the team while legal proceedings are ongoing in France around a case of alleged rape in which 29-year-old Farrell is an alleged witness.

The IRFU has confirmed that Farrell will not be considered for Ireland selection during this time either. The union says it “supports” the decision that sees Farrell to step back from Munster duty.

The case dates back to 2017 when Farrell was playing with Grenoble.

Reports in France this week say that the case, in which three former Grenoble rugby players have been accused of rape, has been referred to the Assises Court of Gironde by the Bordeaux Court of Appeal.

Farrell has not been accused of alleged rape. Munster say his alleged involvement is “as a witness” to an alleged crime.

Munster have this morning confirmed that Farrell will not play for the province while this case is ongoing in France.

“Munster Rugby and Chris Farrell have agreed that, with immediate effect, he will be stepping back from his involvement with the Munster squad whilst legal proceedings in France, concerning his alleged involvement as a witness to an alleged crime in 2017, are on-going,” reads a statement from Munster.

“As this is an active legal matter before the French courts, we have no further comment.”

The IRFU issued a brief statement to confirm that Farrell will not be considered for Ireland selection while the legal proceedings are ongoing.

“The IRFU supports the agreement between Munster Rugby and Chris Farrell which sees Chris stepping back for a time,” reads the union’s statement.

“In line with that agreement, Chris will not be available for Ireland selection during this period.”

Irishman Denis Coulson is reportedly one of the three former Grenoble players accused of rape. 28-year-old Coulson left Grenoble in 2017 and joined Connacht for a season before returning to French club rugby.

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Coulson, Rory Grice, and Loïck Jammes are reportedly accused of raping a 21-year-old student in March 2017 in Bordeaux following a Top 14 match. They allegedly raped her in the hotel where they were staying that night. The players have previously insisted that the encounter was consensual.

Farrell is reportedly one of two ex-Grenoble players who have been referred to the Assises Court regarding the alleged matter of “non-prevention of the crime”.

Farrell joined Munster from Grenoble in 2017 and has gone on to become a key player for the province, making 71 appearances in total. He started last weekend’s URC defeat to Cardiff.

Farrell made his Ireland international debut in 2017 and has won 15 Test caps, most recently playing against Japan in the summer of 2021.

- This article was updated at 12.39pm to include the IRFU’s statement.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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