Centre Mathieu Bastareaud could be banned for up to three years from the French rugby team for lying to police in Wellington when he claimed he was the victim of an assault, according to a French newspaper report today.
Francois Alguacil, the president of the French Rugby Federation's disciplinary committee, said in an interview with French daily Le Parisien that the FFR is unlikely to be lenient when it delivers its verdict next month.
"This was offensive to the French team, but also to the governments of New Zealand and France," Alguacil told Le Parisien. "I think he will be banned from the (France) squad for between one and three years."
Bastareaud, 20, suffered a suspected broken eye socket and needed stitches to close facial cuts following a late night incident after France's 14-10 loss to New Zealand in the second test of France's southern hemisphere tour.
Bastareaud initially said he had been attacked by up to five men in central Wellington in the early hours of the morning of June 21. Bastareaud later admitted he lied and actually injured himself by falling over a table in his hotel room while drunk.
Alguacil said the ban would only apply to the national side and that Bastareaud could keep playing for Stade Francais.
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon sent a letter of apology to his New Zealand counterpart John Key last month.
"France's tour of New Zealand has been marked by the unacceptable behaviour of one of its players," Fillon said in the letter. "By his false statements, on which basis you had to intervene publicly, he has seriously tainted the image of your country and its people."
Sourced from: The New Zealand HeraldReuse content