Three Grenoble players face charges in rape case

Grenoble rugby players arrive at the police station in Grenoble, southern France on March 22, 2017 to be heard as part of an investigation into a rape allegation

Three Grenoble players are set to go in front of an investigating judge and face being charged with gang rape, prosecutors in the French city of Bordeaux said on Tuesday.

The announcement came after five Grenoble players were questioned by police for a second time earlier in the day.

"Following the new hearings, the Bordeaux public prosecutor's office has decided to open a judicial inquiry for gang rape against three players," read a statement, adding that the trio would be "presented today to an investigating judge".

The players in question are the 22-year-old Irishman Denis Coulson, New Zealander Rory Grice, 27, and Frenchman Loick Jammes, 22.

Prosecutors said there was "serious or consistent evidence against them which makes their participation likely, as perpetrators or accomplices, in the offence of which they have been accused."

The players were originally detained for questioning by police in Grenoble on March 22, along with 24-year-old Irishman Chris Farrell and Dylan Hayes, 23, from New Zealand.

That was after a 21-year-old woman alleged that they raped her after she met them at a nightclub in Bordeaux following their Top 14 defeat by Bordeaux-Begles on March 11.

Also questioned last month but not on Tuesday was Australian lock Peter Kimlin, 31.

Grenoble initially suspended the six players on March 17, lifting the suspensions 12 days later, citing the presumption of innocence.

However the French Top 14 club insisted they reserved the right to take further measures should new information surface in the investigation.