Ex-France centre Bastareaud quits New York for Lyon

Lyon (AFP) –


French centre Mathieu Bastareaud has joined Lyon from American outfit Rugby United New York on a two-year deal, the Top 14 club said on Saturday.

The 31-year-old, who played 54 times for France and won three European Cup titles with Toulon, raised eyebrows when he quit Toulon for New York.

After playing just five games for the Major League Rugby side, the coronavirus pandemic saw the rest of the American season scrapped.

Bastareaud had a short stint with Lyon as a 'joker' at the start of this campaign, with the club missing players due to the World Cup in Japan.

"I wanted to discover something new abroad," said Bastareaud, who is expected to arrive in France in a few days' time.

"I will have good memories of this experience (in New York) even though I wanted to leave at the end of the season. Stopping was the right decision for everyone."

Lyon sit second in the French Top 14 table, eight points behind leaders Bordeaux-Begles.

"The four months spent in Lyon were really great and I enjoyed the city," he added. "The club offered me a great adventure and why not take up this challenge."