Attack on French centre doubted: report - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Attack on French centre doubted: report

25/06/2009 07:08:26 PM Comments (0)

The attack on French rugby player Mathieu Bastareaud - which has caused much soul searching by politicians and rugby administrators - may not have happened on Wellington's streets as claimed.

The attack on Bastareaud had been reported as happening early on Sunday morning, when he was returning to his team's hotel after a night on the town after his side's loss to the All Blacks.

Bastareaud told police he was attacked from behind by five men, leaving him with a serious eye injury, but his recollection was patchy.

However, police had been given CCTV footage showing an uninjured Bastareaud walking into his hotel with two other players and two women, TV One reported.

Police planned to comment on the inquiry on Friday afternoon, Inspector Pete Cowan said.

On Wednesday, police said they had identified two women who had accompanied three members of the French team back to the Holiday Inn hotel.

Holiday Inn general manager Heather Idoine-Riley told NZPA that the hotel was co-operating with police and would not comment further.

Bastareaud has returned to France to recover from his injuries.

Because Bastareaud could not identify his attackers, the French team had not made an official complaint.

France team spokesman Lionel Rossigneux defended his player on Thursday.

"He went back to the hotel with two other rugby players after the attack," Lionel Rossigneux told AAP.

"When he came back to the hotel, he went straight to see the team doctor."

Rossigneux said he hadn't seen the TV footage.

"I'm not sure if it was him on the (TV) picture," he said.

"Have the police identified him as one of the three players walking back to the hotel?

"It may be another player walking back to the hotel later on or earlier, I don't know."

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