Rugby: Former All Black Byron Kelleher in French court on domestic violence charges

Byron Kelleher performs the haka in 2007.
Byron Kelleher performs the haka in 2007. Photo credit: Getty Images

Warning: This article contains recounts of domestic violence.

Former All Blacks halfback Bryon Kelleher will appear in a French court on domestic violence charges, according to French newspaper Le Parisien.

The 57-test international has been accused by his former partner, who says Kelleher was "verbally and physically" violent towards her in 2015, after she gave birth to their son and their relationship ended.  

She also claims the abuse continued in 2022, when Kelleher returned to France.   

"About a month after his return to France, Mr. Kelleher's violence resumed," the victim said in a statement provided to Le Parisien.  

"He regularly consumes alcohol and in large quantities. For no valid reason, he repeatedly insults me, pushes me, pins me against the wall, punches me and strangles me."  

Kelleher, who also played Super Rugby for the Highlanders and Chiefs, denies the allegations and says he has "not touched her".  

This isn't the first time Kelleher has faced the French courts. He was found guilty of domestic violence in 2017, after he damaged the front door of his home while intoxicated and attacked his then-partner. He was fined $300 after the incident, which his lawyer described as a "lovers' quarrel".  

He’s had to deal with French law on two other separate occasions.  

In 2009, he was involved in a brawl at Toulouse, after a collision while driving drunk. In October 2013, he was also found drink-driving at Bordeaux. 

Byron Kelleher during a Tri Nations Test in 2006.
Byron Kelleher during a Tri Nations Test in 2006. Photo credit: Getty Images

Kelleher debuted for the All Blacks in 1999 and often went head-to-head with Justin Marshall for the All Blacks No.9 jersey.   

He left New Zealand after the 2007 Rugby World Cup to play for French side Toulouse and retired from all rugby in 2012.


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