French Rugby
Bastareaud admits assault lies
June 25, 2009

France centre Mathieu Bastareaud has admitted that he lied over his recent "assault" while in New Zealand with the France national side. Bastareaud has returned to France after receiving facial injuries, which the player said were caused by an assault involving up to five men following France's narrow defeat to the All Blacks in the second Test in Wellington last Saturday.

Bastareaud, 20, has now revealed that his injuries were caused by a fall in his hotel room stemming from having had too much to drink. Bastareaud released a statement through his club, Stade Francais, admitting his fabrication after CCTV footage reportedly surfaced showing him entering his hotel uninjured in the early hours of Sunday morning.

"I want to go back on the incidents that occurred in New Zealand," his statement read. "I need to tell the truth to everyone.

"On Saturday evening I went back to the hotel after having drunk too much. I fell into my room, I struck the night table and I cut my cheekbone.

"I was ashamed, I panicked and I thought that I would be expelled from the French team. I told this story thinking that it would pass, but given the scale that it has taken on I want to tell the truth. I did not want to offend my family. I panicked and dug a hole for myself. I want to apologize to the New Zealand Union, the city of Wellington, the French team, the staff, my club, my friends and to all those affected by this story. "

France will play Australia in Sydney on Saturday before returning home, but New Zealand Rugby Union chief Steve Tew has reacted with outrage at the actions of Bastareaud and the issue is likely to follow the French side back to Europe.

"Like all New Zealanders, I am extremely disappointed with this series of events and will be expressing that concern to the French Rugby Federation," said Tew. "We share the concerns of Wellington City Mayor Kerry Prendergast and Wellington Area Police at the distress, negative publicity and the unnecessary concern this has caused for many people - and will be talking further about this with the FFR."


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