Click here for Kelleher's full statement
Fallen All Black hero Byron Kelleher has made a humiliating apology to the French for his alcohol-fuelled road rage fracas, as he tries to avoid a prison sentence.
Kelleher is said to have been accompanied in the car by his new girlfriend, 22-year-old Julie Noves, when he collided with another car then drunkenly assaulted the driver.
He has admitted the offending and is to plead guilty to charges next month.
Noves is the daughter of his coach at Toulouse, Guy Noves, exacerbating Kelleher's troubles. He is already facing at least a few weeks on the sidelines, after suffering a fracture under his eye and a strained shoulder in the incident last week.
Kelleher this week said he wanted to stay in the south of France for good - not just for the duration of his professional rugby contract - and the fracas and arrest have been a setback to his work with the new Kelleher for Youth charitable foundation.
A Toulouse assistant prosecutor told the Herald on Sunday that Kelleher was facing drink-driving and violence charges carrying a sentence of up to six months' jail.
But his early guilty plea, scheduled to be made before a judge in a closed hearing on October 28, could see the sentence negotiated down to a fine and a lengthy driving suspension.
The charges coincide with further civil court action: his BK9 clothing company is being sued by a photo agency for alleged breaches of copyright.
Kelleher, 32, had been drinking with friends at the bar L'Envol in Toulouse last week, before leaving in a Peugeot 308.
He collided with a Porsche at 3am on Friday, September 11 (local time), and exchanged words with the driver before driving off.
The motorist followed Kelleher to another intersection, where a fight broke out and Kelleher reportedly knocked him to the ground.
When two passersby intervened, Kelleher and his friends reportedly attacked them as well. But they had chosen the wrong opponents: one was a boxer, who evaded Kelleher's punch and returned a blow to Kelleher's head, momentarily knocking him out.
Kelleher posted a picture and audio statement on YouTube this weekend, showing him shaking hands with the driver of the Porsche, Brice Rostaing.
"I apologise for the situation that had unfortunately occurred on Thursday night between us," he said. "I had done wrong because I had been past the limit of alcohol... I've made a fault, I've done a mistake."
He had earlier met local media, including La Depeche newspaper, which broke the story, wearing sunglasses to hide his injured face.
"It should never have taken this turn," he told them, with the help of an interpreter. "I got stupidly upset. Especially because of the alcohol and I had false friends who dragged me to do the wrong thing.
"I don't want people from Toulouse to think this is normal and that what happened doesn't affect me.
"I am not a mercenary who comes to play for a year or two, takes his money and comes back home."
He planned to live permanently in France, he said.