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Last Updated:  Monday, 31 March, 2003, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Ravens trio face French court
Three Welsh rugby players have been placed under judicial investigation in the south of France after claims of a brawl in a bar following a match.

Andy Moore, Bridgend
Andy Moore is one of three under investigation
Bridgend's Gareth Thomas, Andy Moore and Phil Booth were allegedly involved in an incident after October's 18-6 Parker Pen Challenge Cup defeat in Pau.

Assistant coach Richard Webster was also involved, it is claimed. Mr Booth is also being investigated over a sexual assault claim.

The four appeared at the town's law courts on Monday and were released after each paying 1,500 euros in bail. They have not been charged.

Brawl

The incident took place at the El Barrio club in Lescar following the first round, first leg clash.

It is claimed Mr Booth made a sexual gesture toward 22-year-old Frenchwoman Celine Arnaud.

The ex-Llanelli prop's team-mates became violent and punched her fiancÚ Jean Marie Gonthier when he intervened, it is alleged.

The man was off work for 10 days. The couple are demanding 12,000 euros in compensation.

Complaint

An examining magistrate last week applied for an international arrest warrant when the players failed to appear at an agreed hearing with the complainants on 31 January.

Gareth Thomas
Wing Gareth Thomas scored against France in Paris
In French law, being placed under judicial investigation is a step before being charged.

The couple's lawyer earlier complained to tournament organisers European Rugby Cup, seeking to get Bridgend excluded from the continental contest.

Mr Thomas travelled to Pau's court from Wales' 33-5 RBS Six Nations defeat in Paris on Saturday, when he scored the game's opening try.

Second row Mr Moore captained Wales on their 2001 tour to Japan and was one of 15 new signings at the Brewery Field for 2002/03.

Prop Mr Booth joined the Ravens from Llanelli in the same influx.

Bridgend have found form this season and are third place in the Welsh Premiership, with four games in hand over leaders Neath.




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