French and Scottish players often enjoy a night out together following their Six Nations match

Edinburgh (AFP) - The French team’s flight back from Edinburgh following their Six Nations defeat by Scotland was delayed on Monday so squad members could be interviewed as potential witnesses to an alleged sexual assault, police said.

The plane carrying the France squad was halted by police on the tarmac and several players were taken off. The flight was delayed by two hours before leaving at 1:00pm local time (1300 GMT).

“Following an initial report of sexual assault in Edinburgh city centre during the early hours of Monday 12th February, police conducted various lines of inquiry, including speaking to a number of potential witnesses,” said a Police Scotland statement.

“These inquiries have established that no crime has been committed,” the statement added.

Earlier, French Rugby Federation (FFR) president Bernard Laporte told Europe 1, a French radio station: “We don’t know at all what has happened.

“Apparently they are being interviewed as witnesses. There’s nothing to it and we are going to take off. We are not going to spend all day here.”

An earlier FFR statement on Twitter said: “The FFR confirms that some players are being interviewed by the Scottish authorities. We are waiting for more information.”

Initial reports in the British and French media suggested the French players may have been involved in a brawl outside the bar of the Tigerlily hotel.

But it is understood police received no reports of an altercation and Innes Bolt, managing director of Montpeliers (Edinburgh), who run Tigerlily and Lulu nightclub in Edinburgh’s George Street, insisted players from both the France and Scotland teams were “well behaved” when they visited the venues after the match.

“I can confirm that last night (Sunday) the French and Scottish rugby teams enjoyed a night out in both Tigerlily and Lulu; venues that they have visited on a number of occasions after the Six Nations match at Murrayfield,” Bolt said.

“The players and staff were all in good spirits and well behaved.

“I can confirm that there were no reported incidents to our security team and management in either venue during the night, and police have not asked to interview any Montpeliers staff.”