RugbyU: Outrage after Bastareaud admits assault lie



WELLINGTON - New Zealand officials reacted with outrage Friday after French rugby player Mathieu Bastareaud admitted he had lied in claiming he had been attacked by thugs in a Wellington street.
Police have been investigating claims by Bastareaux he was assaulted when he was returning to the team hotel after going out with team mates after his team's Test loss to the All Blacks on Saturday night.



RugbyU: Outrage after Bastareaud admits assault lie
On Thursday, in a statement on his French rugby club's website, he admitted he had made the story up after a drunken fall in his hotel room, cutting his face on a table.
"I was ashamed and panicked and I thought I would be sent packing by the team management," he said.
Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast said she was angry about the damage news of the alleged assault had done to the city's reputation.
"This has always had the potential of damaging our reputation not only nationally but internationally, particularly ahead of hosting the Rugby World Cup (in 2011)," Predergast said.
"I'm outraged -- I'm sure all New Zealanders are," she told Radio New Zealand.
The 20-year-old player said in his statement he believed he had to tell the truth following the wide media coverage the alleged assault had received.
But Wellington area police commander Pete Cowan said the player had been forced to retract his story after results of the police investigation were Thursday given to the French Rugby Federation.
"We outlined our findings which showed Mr Bastereaud's allegations were pure fabrication and suggested Mr Bastaraud reconsider his position," Cowan said.
"Mr Bastareaud has not come out overnight and apologised out of the goodness of his heart."
The police investigations found the player had entered the team hotel on Sunday morning uninjured and had entered his room 25 minutes later.
"Now what happened in that 25 minutes is open to a lot of speculation. Now I'm not in a position to tell you. All I can tell you is Mr Bastareaud was not assaulted outside the hotel by four or five thugs."
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said the union shared some of the outrage felt by Wellington's mayor.
Asked about claims other members of the French team must have known Bastareaud was lying, Tew said any further investigation was up to the French Rugby Federation.
"I think it's now up to the French federation to answer those questions and perhaps even to conduct a bit more of an investigation themselves."
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Friday, June 26th 2009
AFP
           


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