x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

French star heading home after street beating

Mathieu Bastareaud suffers a black eye and needs stitches to close facial cuts after being attacked by up to five men in central Wellington early on Sunday.

WELLINGTON // The French rugby star Mathieu Bastareaud suffered a black eye and needed stitches to close facial cuts after being attacked by up to five men in central Wellington early on Sunday morning. Bastareaud, 20, was returning alone to his team hotel when he was attacked by the men, who apparently recognised him as a French player, said France's media spokesman, Lionel Rossigneux.

He was treated by the French team doctor and needed four stitches to close cuts around his eye. It was initially feared that he had suffered a fractured eye socket, but scans revealed that no bones had been broken. Rossigneux said Bastareaud had spoken to New Zealand police before heading back to Paris. "The scan didn't show anything. It's just four stitches and a black eye, " said Rossigneux. France's assistant coach, Emile Ntamack, said yesterday it was a shame that Bastareaud will miss France's match on Saturday against Australia in Sydney.

"It's bad for Mathieu, he doesn't play," Ntamack said. "This is a sport but when you are in an incident like that, it is always a shame. It's just a bad incident. In rugby you have some stupid people [fans]." * AP