Do Not Sell My Personal Information
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Tuesday Mar 12, 2013

French referee horrifically breaks leg, collarbone, and sprains ankle

French referee horrifically breaks leg, collarbone, and sprains ankle

There was some hesitation in posting this horrific incident, but a lot of you seemed interested in finding out exactly how referee Mathieu Raynal got so badly injured at the weekend. It’s not for the faint hearted, so do not watch if you’re squeamish.

Raynal, 31, got caught under two Racing Metro players during their 17-15 victory over Montpellier Friday night. It was the car crash of all on field collissions, resulting in an unbelievable double fracture to tibia and fibula, as well as a broken right collarbone, and a sprained left ankle.

His leg appeared to snap instantly under the pressure, leading to a few minutes that were hard to watch (and even worse to experience!) as he cried out in agony before medics got to him.

He was stretchered off and taken to hospital, where he has been ever since.

Loosely translated from French, this is what he had to say about the awful moment.

“The images that come back to me then are those of Sébastien Descons (Racing Metro scrumhalf) holding my hand, faces of rescuers, the ambulance, hospital, and ceilings. Ceilings is all I saw everywhere,” he said with a smile.

He had surgery two hours later, saying it was really painful but was reduced by the morphine.

“I am completely immobilised, because I can not rely on crutches because of my broken collarbone. Hopefully my rehab starts in a month. Doctors tell me that I could start walking and running within three months.” His season is over, but he says he has found comfort in the support he has received.

“Many players, coaches, managers and referees called me to support me. It warms the heart. It gives me the courage I’ll need,” he said.

Once again, this was a horrible incident and isn’t nice to watch as the leg break is visible. You’ve read the story, so if you’d rather not see what happened, please don’t watch the video.

Time: 1:11


  • alasdairduncan3
    9:59 PM 02/06/2014

    Couldn't bring myself to watch the second half of that video, just in case they showed a slow-mo...

  • kadova
    10:35 PM 13/03/2013

    Like everyone here, i wish Mr Raynal a speedy recovery. Hope he comes back on the pitch stronger than ever, he's an excellent referee. Would love to see him on the international stage when he can.

  • gonzoman
    4:50 PM 13/03/2013

    Just to piggy-back on the point HowardTheDuck made, we are seeing more scrum-halves using that space but I don't think that we can effectively prevent it with a rule. What you will start seeing is more and more referees staying further from the breakdown in a safer position. Speaking as a referee, I know that the safest position generally speaking is what we call "chariot position" - directly behind the ruck, about 3-5 meters behind the halfback. I also know that your ability to accurately referee the breakdown and offsides from that position is pretty limited. If more referees start standing further off the breakdown, it will get messier. At what point do you balance the potential for harm to the referees against the quality of the game? I think ultimately, referees should continue to position themselves close to the breakdown, but that players should have a duty of care to the referee. After all, the referee is responsible for promoting player safety...that should run both ways. Long story short - players should avoid running into/around the referee as best they can because it's in the SPIRIT OF THE GAME, not necessarily because someone made a law about it. All the best and a quick recovery, M. heart goes out to you!

  • drg
    11:20 AM 13/03/2013

    Just really an echo of what has already been said, wish him a speedy recovery, shocking injury, and I wish I had heeded that warning a bit more - not a pleasant video to watch/hear..

  • guy
    10:49 AM 13/03/2013

    My stomach just turned upside down...such bad luck. Breaking your collarbone in the proces so you can't even properly start revalidating. Sad. Silver lining: good to see immediate concern by players of both teams. God, I love this sport! Wish him all the best and a quick recovery.

  • welshie69
    3:49 AM 13/03/2013

    Horrific injury, all the best to the guy. We need good refs and its awful to see anyone get that kind of injury. All I can wish is the speediest of recoveries and hope it doesn't put him off the game.

  • ravens6
    2:28 AM 13/03/2013

    I have had a Tibia and fibula mid shaft fracture while playing and I can imagine what the Ref is going through. Fair play to the Players for stopping play so quick and attending to the ref. Good to see that we as a sport still have the respect for our officials. Hope he recovers quickly.

  • asdfero
    1:08 AM 13/03/2013

    Godspeed recovery! And I agree with HowardTheDuck.

  • crazyfool333
    8:42 PM 12/03/2013

    Holy crap! I hope he gets better soon and know that many people around the world feel for him after hearing this news!

  • elvis15
    8:28 PM 12/03/2013

    Oh. My.

  • howardtheduck
    8:01 PM 12/03/2013

    Damn, that's bad. I do not mean to point fingers or blame anyone, but it is getting more popular among scrumhalves (being one myself) to use the space the ref occupies near the fringes of a ruck to a personal advantage, in other words to "use" the ref, putting him in a pretty dangerous situation, with a high risk of contact and injury. The official has his guard down, is not braced for impact, and has different movements and game pace than the players do. This HAS to stop. I understand it is a "weak spot" of the game, something you can't really work on (you can't really change rules in regards to this type of situation), but I am not suprised if coaches at a higher level are telling 9's to use this more as tactic to get the opposition on the back foot. We've always distinguished ourselves from other sports for the way we respect those officiating our own. Let's not start using them as props to gain something out of, or we are no better than those shouting and cussing at them. Cheers.

  • disco
    7:52 PM 12/03/2013

    He's the rising star of French refereeing. Hope he gets well soon and continues to receive the support he needs to get back in the middle. French rugby need him almost as much as they need a reliable fly half at the moment.

  • cambridgeshirekid
    7:22 PM 12/03/2013

    Holy crap! that is bad, hope he gets well soon!

  • colombes
    7:14 PM 12/03/2013

    ouch, ouch, ouch..... he should have been touchline ref for england-italy this last weekend. France TV informed that the surgery intervention went well. hope it was the same for Reddan

  • welshosprey
    7:09 PM 12/03/2013



Great Tries

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

View All

See It To Believe It

View All


View All


View All

Player Features

View All
French referee horrifically breaks leg, collarbone, and sprains ankle | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos