Rugby United New York’s Mathieu Bastareaud has arrived in New York and has been practicing with the team ahead of the 2020 Major League Rugby season. He gained his release from his Toulon contract. The 31-year-old center is 6’1″ and 270 lbs.
Mathieu expected to be included in the France 2019 Rugby World Cup squad, however, when he was omitted, he signed a short-term deal with Top 14 team Lyon as a ‘World Cup joker’ until mid-November.
Mathieu spent the past eight years playing for Toulon, making over 200 appearances. and captaining the side for the last five years. He is expected to appear for France in this fall’s Rugby World Cup and will join the New York City club after its conclusion, likely moving to the U.S. in December.
Basta made his debut for France against Wales on February 27, 2009, in a Six Nations match. The last of his 54 caps came on March 16, 2019, against Italy. He also appeared in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He has captained the side on three occasions as well.
Mathieu played youth rugby with Creteil Rugby and then joined Massy Junior Academy and the French 3rd Division SU Massy side in 2006-2007. From 2007-2011 he played for Stade Francais before joining Toulon in 2011.
Rugby United New York Comments
Rugby United New York has announced that “Mathieu will be visiting New York City next week, along with Rugby United New York’s CEO Pierre Arnald, in hopes of starting the daunting acclimation process as soon as possible. During his time in the city, the center will be training regularly, as well as meeting with various media pundits that have expressed interest in Major League Rugby’s biggest signing to date.”
“Leaving beloved club side Toulon for the season, Basta has become a cult icon for the Southern French side. He has enjoyed 206 caps in Toulon Red and captained the side for the last 5 years becoming known as both an unstoppable force as a runner, breakdown machine and defensive anchor for the side. But perhaps most importantly is Basta’s leadership ability, as teammate Dave Attwood mentions: “(Toulon’s) a team of rock stars, but when he speaks, everyone listens and that says a lot about the man.”
General Manager James English further echoed the above sentiments in his official announcement:
“We’re very pleased to officially announce the signing of Bastareaud for the 2020 season, he’s a world-class player. Details are being finalized but we are very excited to have him on loan from Toulon. He’s gonna bring a lot of experience and will be a big presence on and off the field for RUNY. This also gives us a great opportunity to further connect with our French fan base here in NYC.”