Police raid French Rugby offices in probe into Laporte
France's preparations ahead of the Six Nations have been rocked by a major off-field controversy as police raided the French Rugby Federation (FFR) headquarters yesterday.
The investigation is believed to be in regard to suspicions of favouritism concerning the union's boss Bernard Laporte.
Laporte, who was the central figure in France winning the right to host the 2023 World Cup, also had his home searched.
He is suspected of pressuring the FFR's appeals committee to reduce a sanction against Mohed Altrad, who owns Montpellier.
Laporte is accused of favouritism after it emerged that a company he owns had signed an image rights contract with the Altrad Group in early 2017.
Supremo The FFR recently signed a jersey sponsorship deal worth in the region of €35 million with the Altrad Group, which is headed up by Montpellier's supremo.
The controversy comes just over a week out from France's Six Nations opener against Ireland in Paris.
Meanwhile, two of Ireland's other Six Nations rivals, England and Wales, have also been handed setbacks of their own.
Eddie Jones is sweating over the fitness of his Lions tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler, who was forced to leave England's training camp in Portugal.
Sinckler suffered a hamstring strain and has returned to Harlequins to determine the extent of the damage.
Jones is a big fan of Sinckler and if he is ruled out of Six Nations or part of it, it would be a major blow to England's title defence. Bath's Henry Thomas has been called up as Sinckler's replacement.
Elsewhere, Dan Biggar will miss Wales' first three games against Scotland, England and Ireland after he picked up a shoulder problem in Ospreys' defeat to Clermont last weekend.