The Dom Post reports:
The French embassy refuses to apologise for damage to Wellington’s reputation from Mathieu Bastareaud’s false assault allegations, despite a scathing article penned by its ambassador.
You can read the Ambassadors’ article for yourself here. He said:
More serious is the assault against a French rugby player in the street, on the grounds that he is French and identified as one of the best French player. At least, this is how the local press reports the event. We thought rugby was safe from such behaviour which, alas, plagues other sports. Supporters’ passion cannot fully explain this incident. Maybe the assailants took literally an article entitled “Ten reasons to hate the French”.
Is one of those reasons their arrogance and inability to say sorry?
The Dom Post editorial also makes some good points about the cover-up:
The players who entered the hotel with him and the team doctor who stitched him up almost certainly know the real cause of his injury, and so probably do coach Marc Lievremont and manager Jo Maso. Why else delay for 48 hours before telling the world?
New Zealand and France have a long and rich history on and off the rugby field. On the field it is a relationship marked by equal parts brilliance and skulduggery – both admired qualities in rugby circles. But, off the field, the skulduggery should stop.
Bastareaud has apologised to the New Zealand Rugby Union and Wellington for his lies. The French rugby union and team management should do the same to try to repair the damage done to Wellington’s name by their complicity in the Bastareaud Affair.
The lies told were not that of a sole player. Management approved the lie and attempted cover up and the French Rugby Union should discipline those responsible and apologise. If a NZ team did what the French did, the senior management would be sacked.