Tributes have been paid to Franck Lascassies, the former France under-20s development player who reportedly took his own life at the age of 21. The prop, who spent time with Bayonne and Pau, died earlier this week and his funeral took place on Friday.

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France Rugby tweeted: “We learned with immense sadness of the death of Franck Lascassies, a former player of our teams of #FranceJeunes at the age of 21. Our condolences to his family and loved ones.”

Bayonne tweeted: “It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of Franck Lascassies, 21, who went through the categories at Bayonne before leaving for Pau. The club offers its sincere condolences to the whole family and loved ones of Franck.”

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Pau added: “The club learned with immense sadness the death of Franck Lascassies, a training centre player from 2017 to 2019. In this terrible ordeal, the club joins the pain of the family and those close to them.”

World Rugby vice-president Bernard Laporte said: “I’m saddened to learn of the death of Franck Lascassies, a player of the France U20 development team. With his team, he also won the European U18 title. Franck was full of talent. My condolences to his family and loved ones.”

The Pacific Rugby Welfare said: “Sad news from France that a young Pacific Islander has tragically taken his life at age 21.”

Mental health has become a huge talking point in rugby in recent years, ex-Scotland international Graeme Morrison recently telling RugbyPass how damaging it can be. “A lot of players need to understand that being a rugby player doesn’t define who you are as a person. It really doesn’t. We really need to get over that,” he said.

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“I was sitting having dinner with my parents, glazed over, not taking in anything that they were saying. I looked out the balcony and thought, I could literally jump off this right now. It was a fleeting thought but it was definitely very powerful. It still feels quite raw now.”

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