Female witnesses sought over attack on French rugby player

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The Independent Online

Wellington police investigating an attack on French rugby player Mathieu Bastareaud at the weekend want to speak with two women seen with other members of his team.

Bastareaud was returning to his hotel in Featherston Street early on Sunday morning when confronted and assaulted by at least two people.

The attack came just hours after his team's 14-10 loss to the All Blacks at Wellington Stadium.

Police said they believed the attack, which left Bastareaud with cuts and heavy bruising to his face, happened near the Holiday Inn on Featherston St between 3.30am and 5.30am.

Inspector Peter Cowan said the focus of the investigation was on identifying and speaking to any potential witnesses and establishing the movements of the Bastareaud and other members of the French team during the early hours of Sunday.

"We have conducted inquiries at a number of city bars and at the Holiday Inn hotel during the course of the investigation.

"Our inquiries have provided us with CCTV footage from different locations that are helping us to establish what has occurred."

Mr Cowan said part of the footage showed two woman who appear to be accompanied by three men police believed were part of the French team.

The group was dropped off at the hotel between 5.15am and 5.30am on Sunday.

"We would be interested in speaking to those two young women, as well as the driver of the white taxi that dropped this party off and to any other persons who may have seen this party at the hotel or any other location within Wellington city," Mr Cowan said.

Speaking to police yesterday, Bastareaud said he was attacked from behind, although his recollection was patchy.

He said he might have seen someone using a cell phone during the attack, but he was unsure if it was recording.

Police were keeping watch on the internet to see if footage of the attack was published online.

This story was sourced from The New Zealand Herald.