Bad boy seeks All Black redemption
French centre Mathieu Bastareaud is back in New Zealand, hoping to put memories of his disastrous last visit behind him.
French centre Mathieu Bastareaud is back in New Zealand, hoping to put memories of his disastrous last visit behind him and show his talents on the pitch.
In 2009 the young Bastareaud sparked a diplomatic incident by falsely claiming he had been assaulted.
The New Zealand prime minister himself apologised for the attack before it emerged that the player had crashed into his bedside table after a late night.
"I messed up," Bastareaud said in Auckland on Wednesday.
"The only thing I can say, and I have done that, is quite simply to apologise and move on and show that on the pitch I can be a very good rugby player."
Now aged 24, the strapping Toulon player wants to prove himself against the world champions.
"I'm not apprehensive about anyone in particular, they aren't going to eat me," he laughed.
"For me it really is behind me and I am looking ahead. I want to have a good tour here and end a fine season with something big."
He arrived in New Zealand on Tuesday and said that despite still feeling tired after losing the Top 14 final against Castres at the weekend, he was up for the challenge.
"When you have the chance to take on the world champions here, that's all you think about," he said.
Bastareaud added that France wanted to bounce back from a poor Six Nations.
"We lost a lot of confidence during the tournament... we did not concentrate in some matches. So this is a tour to get going again."
The three-Test series opens at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday.