New Zealand police are monitoring the internet for video footage of an attack on Mathieu Bastareaud at the weekend.
Bastareaud will miss France’s Test against Australia this weekend and will return home with a suspected broken eye socket and four stitches after he was attacked in Wellington by a group of men in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Police officials said they had spoken with Bastareaud about the incident, but the 20-year-old could recall little from the attack.
Wellington police inspector Pete Cowan said it was possible one of the attackers may have recorded the incident on a cellphone and police were monitoring the internet in case any footage surfaced.
A few of the French players were out having a drink and Bastareaud was targeted as he attempted to get a taxi back to the team’s hotel just hours after France’s 14-10 defeat to New Zealand in Wellington.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew told Radio New Zealand the union was ‘bitterly disappointed’ by the attack.
‘I’m sure the whole country will join with me in extending an apology to the young man for being exposed to such thuggery,’ said Tew.
‘We’ll be in close touch with the team over the next couple of days to make sure they understand that any support they want we can offer them, but they are pretty keen to move on from the incident.’
Bastareaud is set to undergo a scan on his injuries in Australia before heading back to France.
‘Bastareaud is suffering from significant facial bruising,’ said the team doctor Jean-Philippe Hager. ‘He will undergo another scan on Monday in order to check that he is not suffering from a more significant injury.’