Julian Savea’s wife Fatima and brother Ardie have hit back at Toulon fans on social media after the former All Black was told he is ‘not welcome’ at the club anymore.
Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal delivered a stunning interview condemning Savea after the side’s 19-10 defeat to Agen last week – the side’s tenth loss of the year.
“I’m going to ask for a DNA test,” Boudjellal told French radio station RMC. “They must have swapped him on the plane [when he joined from the Hurricanes last year]. If I were him I would apologise and go back to my home country.”
“I’ve told him that he was free to go and wasn’t welcome at Toulon any more.”
Toulon fans haven’t been kind to Savea on social media, wishing cancer upon his mother and calling him “fatman”, to which his wife Fatima responded.
“Take a minute to think about how your words can affect someone’s life and their mental health,” she tweeted.
“And people wonder why mental health in rugby had become a big problem. Take a minute to be considerate of people’s feelings instead of bashing them behind a keyboard or phone screen.
“With rugby you are only as good as your team is. It’s not an individual sport it’s a team sport and sometimes you can be let down by your team.
“But that shouldn’t give anyone the right to ridicule a player and their livelihood because no one knows what these players go through on a daily basis and the struggles they face.”
Absolutely disgusted by this shit. pic.twitter.com/TZzU1pRIpu
— T I M A ? (@_timasavea) February 17, 2019
And people wonder why mental health in rugby had become a big problem. Take a minute to be considerate of people’s feelings instead of bashing them behind a keyboard or phone screen. https://t.co/PdFFaL4uSu
— T I M A ? (@_timasavea) February 16, 2019
Savea’s brother, All Blacks loose forward Ardie, also stepped in to defend his brother.
“This type of carry on from [Boudjellal] won’t exactly entice other players to play for @RCTofficiel,” former Wallaby and Toulon winger Drew Mitchell tweeted.
“Business or not you just don’t treat ppl like this. Good luck wherever you play next bro! @juliansavea7”
Ardie retweeted Mitchell’s message of support, adding: “F***ing Amen”.
Julian himself also responded on Twitter, choosing to take the higher ground after tweeting “putting all the negativity behind me and heading into this week with a positive attitude.”
“Whether I am welcomed or not I am still contracted to my team and I will continue to train week in and week out with my brothers.”
Putting all the negativity behind me and heading into this week with a positive attitude??whether I am welcomed or not I am still contracted to my team and I will continue to train week in and week out with my brothers #endofstory #letsmoveon pic.twitter.com/y7QBqLOyVV
Julian was capped by the All Blacks 54 times and scored 46 tries, giving him one of the best try scoring strike rates in international rugby history. A loss of form saw him slip out of favour with the All Blacks and eventually the Hurricanes, at which point to decided to make the switch to Europe.
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