TOP 14. Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon) confides in his unhealthy passion for rugby

I was passionate, I slept rugby.“These words would tend to strike a chord with us. But here they have occasionally looked like poisoned gifts. In an interview with L’Équipe and published this Friday, September 23. In the latter, he evokes his true Stations of the Cross to return to the professional world. Passed by the wheelchair, the walker and the crutches, the French international has always recovered. His latest feat? A comeback (of high quality) against ASM Clermont and in the colors of RC Toulon after a double knee injury. At 34, the adopted Varois remains as passionate as ever. A love for the oval ball which has not always been beneficial for him. He explains this in the sports daily: “I’ve always been from the school of those who don’t listen to themselves too much. It’s paradoxical for an athlete, but we want to perform so much, to play, that we don’t listen to the signals. The body is the slave of our will. We say to ourselves: “I don’t have time” or “A career goes quickly”. We accumulate glitches, until it cracks.TOP 14. The return of Mathieu Bastareaud: a godsend for this RCT!

A healthy mind in a healthy body

A statement that we hear regularly among players who have caused physical glitches. Because if the career is short, the can recover, he can sometimes seem infinite before retouching the grass of the meadow. After a complicated passage punctuated by injuries at LOU, he admits that his “relationship to (his) body is different.“After the match against Clermont, the player appeared at a press conference. If he confided to The Team that his relationship with his body was improving, he affirmed to the other ducks that the mind was going in the same direction. In Mayol, he said this about his comeback on September 18: “It’s true that for me, there was a lot of emotional charge because I’ve come a long way. It went really well, already for the victory and then also with the team. I was happy to be able to push back the lawn of Mayol.[…] We will say that from now on, I have bottle. I knew how to handle this.

With an early start on the green rectangle, start with the seniors of Massy at 18 and selected at 21, we could say that Mathieu Bastareaud has gone through all the stages. Passing through the CERS (European Center for Sports Rehabilitation) last July, he details the mental barriers he has overcome. In the columns of Var-Matin, he expressed himself thus, specifying that if he returned, “it wasn’t for clowning around”: “Inevitably, after what I had, I was very protective. By placing myself in a little more danger, I saw that once the psychological barrier had been overcome, I succeeded. It gave me confidence. Even though I knew the Cers team, it also strengthened our ties. We were able to work for two weeks. This allowed me to ask myself fewer questions, to ponder less. If they make me do an exercise or a movement, it’s because they think I’m capable of it. If they have confidence, it is also up to me to have confidence in myself.XV of France.  How to get out of a negative spiral?  The opinion of a psychologistXV of France. How to get out of a negative spiral? The opinion of a psychologist

Spare the younger generations

If some have hurt him, they allow him to acquire an inimitable asset: experience. With the latter, the center converted into number 8 does not want to be stingy. Back in the columns of L’Équipe, he says he wants to work with young people after his career. He describes a passion that is sometimes hard to curb where the love of rugby has taken over from realism. Asked about his future, he imagines himself with the Hopes. Beyond a purely technical transmission, “Basta” flaunts a psychological heritage:

Just because you’re wearing the RCT badge on your heart today doesn’t mean you’ll be in the first or international team tomorrow. I also want to encourage them to take care of themselves mentally. At that age, you have a lot of dreams. They can break suddenly with a wound. Or in an office with a guy who says to you: “You don’t have the level, we don’t keep you.” What are you doing ? You have to study, always keep a distance. Looking back, I would have done differently. I was passionate, I slept rugby. I was up at 5 a.m. watching the Super 12.”

INTERVIEW.  Albert Cigagna: ''If you want to be champion of France, you have to play with the same mentality in every match''INTERVIEW. Albert Cigagna: ”If you want to be champion of France, you have to play with the same mentality in every match”
As an echo of Bastareaud’s words, some former players produce a similar observation in their post-career. In April 2021, the Toulouse legend Albert Cigagna, now involved in the world of university sport, tells us about it. Taking the example of Castres Olympique, he evoked the usefulness of a “dual training» in the training centres. Asked about CO’s 13ᵉ place in the ranking of the best Top 14 training centers for the 2018/2019 season, he replied as follows:

In my opinion, what is not reflected in this ranking is the actual quality of the training. Putting out a lot of good players doesn’t mean they’re well trained to handle life in general. For example, Castres Olympique has a superb philosophy on what is called dual formation. It favors extensive support in terms of studies and diplomas. Doing a good training is not only producing high-performance players and I don’t know if young people need to be aware of that. All the difficulty lies there.

So the subtlety seems to be there. A life of rugby for our young talents, of course, but a life above all. This concept, Mathieu Bastareaud seems to have already assimilated it well and that, even before having hung up the crampons.

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