Bastareaud reveals suicide attempt

Date published: June 17 2015

Toulon and France centre Mathieu Bastareaud has revealed in his new autobiography that he attempted to slit his wrists.

Entitled "Head High: Confessions of an enfant terrible of rugby", the 26-year-old's book unravels the highs and low of his turbulent career.

The former Stade Français centre explains how he was hit hard by criticism after he lied about being assaulted in New Zealand in 2009 and began to drink heavily.

"I jumped up and walked to the kitchen. I took a big knife and slit my veins," wrote Bastareaud, describing his reaction to reading critical comments on the internet.

"I immediately collapsed on the floor, fainting. My friends in the living room heard the noise and came in. They saw the knife, the blood, and me lying there, unconscious and they called emergency services immediately.

"I don't know if I really wanted to die. I wanted to suffer. I wanted to punish myself.

"When you hear everywhere all day long that you are just a loser, that you don't deserve to be there… you try to keep a cool attitude but you begin to believe what people say.

"I smiled in public but, as soon as I came back home, I was alone."

Bastareaud's descent started with the notorious incident in Wellington while on tour in New Zealand with France when he claimed to have been attacked by five men after he had drunkenly fallen in his hotel room and injured his face.

"I staggered and, awkwardly, collapsed on the floor with all my weight. In my fall, I smashed the room's night table. The shock was terrible," he wrote.

"I was bleeding a lot and it hurt. My left cheekbone had exploded… I panicked.

"The doctor asked me how I got the injury. I should have confessed I was drunk, but I was ashamed of my behaviour and afraid to face consequences. I was a coward.

"So, instead of telling the truth and trusting management, I developed a lie. A lie that would have heavy consequences."

Bastareaud's scars are now hidden beneath numerous tattoos and he has made a successful return to the top flight of rugby as a European champion with Toulon and is part of France's squad for the World Cup.