The father of French rugby player Nicolas Chauvin, who tragically died while playing in Paris, is set to launch a manslaughter lawsuit against the French Rugby Federation in a bid to uncover the truth behind his son's death.

Late last year, Nicolas died aged 18 when he suffered a heart attack and brain damage from a double tackle which fractured a cervical vertebra while playing for French club Stade Français Espoirs.

In the wake of his family's grievous loss, Philippe Chauvin wants to uncover whether the French Rugby Federation or anyone involved on the day of his son's death was negligent.

But under French law, with the police investigation, now closed, Philippe is not allowed to access the file unless taking a legal route.

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"Losing a child is terrible, even more so because of a problem that could have been avoided. I'm going ahead with this complaint because I do not want it to happen to others," Philippe told the Guardian.

The Chauvin's family after the funeral of Stade Francais rugby player Nicolas Chauvin. Photo / Getty
The Chauvin's family after the funeral of Stade Francais rugby player Nicolas Chauvin. Photo / Getty

"I feel it is also my duty to Nicolas to do everything so that the facts and responsibilities are established … There may be things that I do not know or positions that are not the ones I was told.

"I do not believe that a shoulder shot to the head launched at 20 km/h preserves safety. I just want someone to explain to me why the security of a player could not be assured and if and where mistakes were made."

Four young players died in French Rugby between May 2018 and January this year.

As a result, the upper age limit for players representing Espoirs was reduced by a year to 22 in a bid to reduce the 'men against boys' element for young junior-club hopefuls like Nicolas.

Below the waist-only tackles and a ban on double tackles are also being trialled at junior level.

The Chauvin family, however, believe it's player's attitudes on the pitch which should be addressed in order to prevent tragedy in the future.

Tribute to Nicolas Chauvin during the Challenge Cup match between Stade Francais and Ospreys. Photo / Getty
Tribute to Nicolas Chauvin during the Challenge Cup match between Stade Francais and Ospreys. Photo / Getty

"Rugby is not a game of destruction, we must not play to wipe out an opponent. The spirit of the game is to keep the ball alive, not to kill your opposite number," Philippe said.

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"I used to watch the games with Nicolas. It's part of our life. I do not wish to attack rugby. [But] we must stop looking for excuses when an offence is committed.

"Rugby is a beautiful sport in terms of its values and shared commitment but if the game is not controlled and safety is not assured, young people will go to another sport. It should not be a sport for bullies or brutes but a sport of possibilities, in which teams have to combine strength, speed, agility, intelligence and will."

Both Philippe and his family hoped Nicolas' story will be the catalyst for change and resonates far beyond this World Cup.

"I feel more apprehension for the players now and am much less tolerant of reckless play. I now know it can be fatal, that there is no second chance if the limits are crossed," he said.

"I don't want him to leave a legacy, he just deserves the people of rugby to be aware of the truth."