France recall for shamed Bastareaud

MATHIEU Bastareaud has been recalled to the France squad for the RBS Six Nations Championship, little more than six months after causing a diplomatic outcry.

The Stade Francais centre sparked controversy when he claimed he had been attacked following a night out in Wellington on France’s tour to New Zealand last summer when, in fact, he sustained a suspected broken eye socket and needed four stitches in his cheek after a drunken fall in his hotel room.

Bastareaud, who returned to France following the incident, admitted his story was a lie concocted to hide the fact he had injured himself. France Prime Minister Francois Fillon sent a written apology to New Zealand counterpart John Key over the incident, which was subject to a French Rugby Federation investigation.

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But the 21-year-old, who was handed a suspended three-month ban and ordered to coach rugby as part of a community service agreement, has now been included by Marc Lievremont in France’s 30-man squad for the Six Nations opener with Scotland at Murrayfield on 7 February.

Lievremont was determined to put the Bastareaud incident firmly in the past. “The unfortunate Bastareaud episode of (last) summer is closed for us now,” said the France head coach. “Mathieu Bastareaud’s return is justified by his club performances (for Stade Francais) and the fact he has started his community service work.”

Toulouse scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde was also recalled to the squad, which is missing Julien Dupuy.

FRANCE SQUAD: Forwards: T Domingo (Clermont Auvergne), L Ducalcon (Castres), S Marconnet (Stade Francais), N Mas (Perpignan), W Servat (Toulouse), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), S Chabal (Racing Metro), R Millo-Chluski (Toulouse), L Nallet (Racing Metro), P Pape (Stade Francais), J Bonnaire (Clermont Auvergne), T Dusautoir (Toulouse), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz), A Lapandry (Clermont Auvergne), F Ouedraogo (Montpellier), L Picamoles (Toulouse). Backs: JB Elissalde (Toulouse), M Parra (Clermont Auvergne), B Boyet (Bourgoin), F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), M Bastareaud (Stade Francais), F Estebanez (Brive), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), D Marty (Perpignan), V Clerc (Toulouse), B Fall (Bayonnais), J Malzieu (Clermont Auvergne), A Rougerie (Clermont Auvergne), A Palisson (Brive), C Poitrenaud (Toulouse).