1 Jul 2009

Bastareaud case shocks French rugby

7:32 am on 1 July 2009

French rugby is reeling following the news that the disgraced centre Mathieu Bastareaud has been hospitalised with serious psychological problems following the New Zealand tour scandal.

The 20-year-old Stade Francais player is at the centre of a furious row after admitting he invented a story about being assaulted outside the team hotel in Wellington following France's defeat in the second Test against the All Blacks 11 days ago.

Yesterday's headline on leading sports daily L'Equipe sports read "Bastareaud cracks up", saying that what should have been an incident with no consequences has instead turned into a drama with Bastareaud "crushed by the weight of his own lies" and hospitalised after what might have been an attempt at suicide.

Bastareaud says he invented the assault story to avoid being sent home by the French team management and upsetting his family, who are deeply religious, and the Stade Francais chairman Max Guazzini says the massive press interest in the affair has left the player totally devastated.