News In Brief
Bastareaud says sorry for lying
October 27, 2009
Mathieu Bastareaud is hoping that his apology will lead to the France squad
© Getty Images
- Disgraced France centre Mathieu Bastareaud has issued a public apology for making a false claim of assault during the summer tour of New Zealand.
Bastareaud claimed that he had been attacked by a group of up to five men as he made his way back to the team hotel in Wellington after a night out with team-mates following their 14-10 defeat by the All Blacks earlier in the day.
However, it subsequently emerged that the facial injuries sustained by Bastareaud had been the result of a drunken fall in his hotel room. After initially being banned for three months by the French rugby federation (FFR), a remorseful Bastareaud was eventually ordered to perform community service.
The Stade Francais player admitted his guilt publicly at a press conference in Paris on Tuesday and is now hoping to ressurrect his international career.
"I want to offer my apologies to the French federation, the New Zealand federation, the staff and all the players of the French team," the Stade Francais player said on the eve of the commencement of his community service.
"The right version of the incident is, as I said in a statement on June 25, that I came back late to the hotel in a rather disreputable state and I fell.
"I met Marc Lievremont (France head coach) and we talked about what happened. He told me the gate of the French team was still open for me and I thank him."
- The Blue Bulls have announced the return of Jaco van der Westhuyzen after six years with Japanese outfit NEC.
The former Springbok, who can play at fullback, fly-half or on the wing, has penned a three-year contract with the Currie Cup finalists and will arrive back in Pretoria in January.
"The Bulls will always have a very special place in my heart," van der Westhuyzen said. "I am very eager to play for them and everything I do and want to do is centered around the Bulls. It was a very easy decision to make and I am very excited to join up with the team."
- Bryan Habana will start for the Blue Bulls in Saturday's Currie Cup final clash with the Free State Cheetahs at Loftus Versfeld.
The Springbok winger had been a doubt for the game in Pretoria after straining his hamstring in the semi-final win over Western Province just over a week ago but he has been given the all-clear to take up his regular berth on the left wing.
However, Habana's fellow South African international Chiliboy Ralepelle has been ruled out because of a stress fracture, meaning Derick Kuun will continue at hooker in an unchanged Bulls starting line-up with Bandise Maku providing cover from the bench.
- Scotland boss Andy Robinson will discover later this week if Gloucester prop Alasdair Dickinson will be available for the November 14 clash with Fiji at Murrayfield.
Dickinson injured his shoulder during his club's Guinness Premiership defeat by Wasps at Kingsholm at the weekend and now faces an agonising wait to determine the extent of the damage.
"Alasdair will have an MRI scan once the swelling goes down," a Gloucester spokesman told The Scotsman.