PARIS, February 11 – A "furious" Sebastien Chabal has lashed out at the French coaching staff over their handling of the announcement of the back injury that ruled him out of the first two Six Nations matches.
The 32-year-old — recently voted France’s sportsperson of the year for 2009 — told the Thursday edition of newspaper Le Figaro that he was upset to have been rebuked by the French Rugby Federation (FFR) for announcing on his Twitter page that he was suffering from a back problem.
"I was really surprised by their (the FFR) reaction," said Chabal, affectionately known as the Caveman.
"All this fuss came out of nothing. Everything that happened was done correctly since I suffered the injury.
"When I announced on Twitter that I was withdrawing from the squad, both the medical staff at national level and at Racing-Metro already knew.
"I saw (France coach) Marc Lievremont personally, and I spoke on the phone to (Racing manager) Pierre Berbizier. I do not know why this story was blown out of all proportion.
"At the moment, nobody has told me what I have done wrong. I am, however, furious with these false rumours about my injury — the fact that I trained alone and it was me who announced that I was injured.
"All that is ridiculous. If the French national team’s staff had done their job as they should have done then there would have been no ‘injury-gate’ or talk of Twitter.
"I was injured on the Friday, and I said nothing publicly for two days. I respected the confidentiality rules."
On a brighter note Chabal, scorer of six tries in his 52 tests, said he was hopeful of returning to action on Saturday week for Racing-Metro’s Top 14 clash with leaders Castres.
He revealed he was recovering well from the injury that has forced him to miss the opening 18-11 win over Scotland as well as this Saturday’s match in Paris against defending champions Ireland.
"I above all needed rest," said Chabal. "It is already a lot better, less inflamed. I am walking a little more normally now, I have returned to the gymnasium this morning (Wednesday), and done some cycling.
"I hope to be able to be fit for next week.
"My sole preoccupation is to regain full fitness. As for returning to the France team, well, that’s up to Marc (Lievremont) to decide."