Cherie Howie

Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

Kelleher forges cognac deal then caught over limit

Byron Kelleher. Photo / NZPA
Byron Kelleher. Photo / NZPA

Former All Black Byron Kelleher has been charged with being boozed behind the wheel in France the morning after signing an agreement to promote a 150-year-old cognac house.

Bordeaux police told French media Kelleher was caught about 9am Friday (local time) driving the wrong way down a one-way street while four times over the French legal alcohol limit of 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

The 37-year-old, who was released after Friday's incident and will be summonsed to appear in court, could not be contacted yesterday.

His Te Puke-based parents, Carol and Kurt Kelleher, refused to comment.

The Sud Ouest newspaper reported the day before the incident that Kelleher was in Cognac, Charente, to sign an agreement to launch a bottle bearing New Zealand and French designs for the Meukow cognac house, which began production in 1862.

The trading house was one of nine partners Kelleher wanted to promote through his company, Haka: Byron Kelleher and Laurent Morin Consulting, the newspaper reported.

The bottle will carry Kelleher's rugby colours between a fern and vine leaf.

Meukow boss Philippe Coste said the product was "largely inspired by the spirit of Byron".

"It will be the symbol of our two lands, of the similarities between the symbols of the fern and the vine, and all that they encompass, in terms of history, spirit, conquest and values."

It's the second time the combative former halfback has found himself on the wrong side of French law.

In 2009 Kelleher ended a night drinking in Toulouse by crashing into a Porsche, fleeing the scene and getting into a punch-up with the other driver and a passersby.

The 58-test veteran was sentenced to a two-month suspended jail term and fined 3500 ($5600) for drunk driving and violence, but the court also showed clemency in ruling the incident not be entered on his judicial record.

Kelleher, who moved to France after the All Blacks were eliminated from the 2007 Rugby World Cup, said at the time he thought the sentence was fair. "The punishment delivered appears to me to be justified and corresponds to the seriousness with which I took this incident, I would like to reiterate my sincere apologies to those who would have found my behaviour shocking and now wish to draw a close to the matter, turn the page and to go back to my career."

Kelleher played for French clubs Toulouse and Stade Francais before retiring from professional rugby last year.

- Herald on Sunday

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n3 at 30 Jul 2014 00:17:32 Processing Time: 1082ms