Bastareaud 'surprised' at interest in assault

BY MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 08:12 24/06/2009
Mathieu Bastareaud
Reuters
ATTACKED: Mathieu Bastareaud, dubbed the "French Nonu" by the All Blacks, was attacked at a taxi rank in central Wellington.

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The French rugby player assaulted in Wellington at the weekend says he is amazed at the level of interest surrounding the Sunday morning incident.

Mathieu Bastareaud was attacked by four or five men when he returned to his team’s hotel after having been out drinking in the central city.

"I have just returned from New Zealand and I am really surprised at the amount of media interest surrounding it," the blockbusting centre said in a statement released by his club Stade Francais.

"I was astonished by the amount of journalists at the airport when I touched down.

"All that happened was an everyday occurrence which could happen to anybody. Unhappily for me it was my turn this time."

Bastareaud suffered heavy bruising and required stitching to a cut, an injury serious enough to rule him out of this weekend’s test against the Wallabies.

Police in New Zealand are continuing their hunt for the attackers.

They believe the incident was caught on a mobile phone and are also reviewing CCTV footage.

They are also seeking two women in connection with the incident who they believe returned to the hotel with three other French players.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Wellington police on 04 381 2000.

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