France international Uini Atonio escaped a prison term for breaking his victim’s jaw during a drunken brawl when he was handed a sixth-month suspended sentence on Friday.
Atonio, a New Zealand-born prop who plays for La Rochelle and the France national team, was among several players caught up in the fracas outside a nightclub in the west coast city in September 2017.
Although clubmate Matthieu Tanguy was “implicated” in the incident, according to presiding judge Candice Gratecos, “it was Uini Atonio who threw a very violent punch” which left his victim with a double fracture of the jaw and unable to work for 40 days.
The sentence will not be registered on the player’s criminal record, meaning it cannot be consulted by authorities or future employers.
Atonio has 31 caps for France after making his debut against Fiji in 2014 and was voted the best prop in France in 2014-2015.