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French coach: Assertion that 'rugby kills' outrageous

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Tributes are paid to Nicolas Chauvin. Photo / Getty Images

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Pau academy coach James Coughlan has responded to the backlash against rugby following the death of 19-year-old Stade Francais academy player Nicolas Chauvin.

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Chauvin broke his neck during an academy match less than two weeks ago. He suffered a cardiac arrest and brain damage, dying three days later.

“It’s incredibly sad. It’s an extremely difficult time for his family, I can’t imagine what they’re going through,” Coughland said in an interview with RTÉ 2fm’s Game On.

“But I’m thinking of the Gaelic guys who would have died on the pitch as well and that’s why we have cardiac units and defibrillators at all the GAA grounds because of the sudden death syndrome.

“It’s just that, an accident. It’s extremely sad and difficult for everyone to understand. But if we get caught up with it and start changing rules and laws and making decisions based on what’s happened… sometimes it’s just an accident.”

An editorial in French newspaper L’Equipe claimed rugby “nobody can pretend there is any doubt anymore. Rugby kills.” Coughlan weighed in on the statement during his interview.

“It’s an outrageous statement to make. For anyone to say that rugby kills… when you go to the shop, you could step out on the street and a bus hits you. That’s the equivalent of what happened.

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“I think if we lose sight of that it’s a slippery slope.”

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