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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste