Bastareaud puts New Zealand embarrassment behind him

Mathieu Bastareaud is ready to focus on playing international rugby again after causing the French team huge embarrassment by lying to police about being assaulted in New Zealand last summer.

Bastareaud initially claimed that he had sustained facial injuries by being attacked by several men following a night out during the team's tour in June, and it quickly escalated into a political affair between the nations.



Bastareaud, who has been doing community service work, was excluded from France's matches against South Africa, Samoa and New Zealand in November. But the burly centre now hopes to play in his country's opening Six Nations match, against Scotland on Monday (NZT).



"A new adventure is beginning, you have to stop talking about the past all day long," Bastareaud, who plays for Stade Francais, said. "I feel stronger. I am at ease, relieved and I want to move forward. I want to play in the (2011) World Cup and win the (Six Nations) tournament."



Bastareaud's morale dropped to rock bottom when the late-night incident blew up into a full-scale political saga, eventually prompting France Prime Minister Francois Fillon to send a letter of apology to his New Zealand counterpart John Key in July.



"When you have nothing left, you only have your family around you," said Bastareaud, who has played four times for France under coach Marc Lievremont. "I had to start everything from scratch."



The 21-year-old, who is Arsenal and France footballer William Gallas' cousin, took flak from all sides. Some said he should never play for France again.



"I thought about stopping rugby, yes. It crossed my mind," Bastareaud said at France's Marcoussis training camp. "I won't ever forget all that was said and written ... I will never forget it (but) I am living with it better."



Bastareaud suffered a suspected broken eye socket and needed stitches to close facial cuts after France's 14-10 loss to New Zealand in the second test of its southern hemisphere tour.



Bastareaud claimed he had been attacked by up to five men in central Wellington in the early hours of the morning. The French press speculated that he had been fighting his teammates, while Bastareaud said he was drunk, slipped and fell face-first onto a bedside table in his room.



He praised Lievremont for ignoring the huge clamours to permanently discard him.



"I had a chat with Marc and he said that I would be in contention if I started playing at a decent level again," Bastareaud said. "I just tried to concentrate on what I had to do on the field."

Sourced from: The New Zealand Herald

Sport
formula oneLive lap-by-lap coverage of championship decider
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
video
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin