By Thomas Branston
Two of French rugby’s most iconic clubs are set to combine forces next season in a striking merger.
Racing 92 and Stade Francais will come together as one Parisian ‘super-club’ in a move which will shake up the current Top 14.
The two sides have collectively won 20 domestic titles in France and the transition is designed to ‘give birth to a new club’ whilst maintaining the roots of both teams.
A statement on the Racing website said:
These two flagship clubs of Paris and the Hauts de Seine, beyond the sporting rivalry they have enjoyed, have many other similarities: a strong local and regional anchorage, a historic educational mission, ancestral ties with The Olympic movement or an inextinguishable will to progress in all areas.
“It is on the basis of these principles that the two clubs lay the foundations for a merger project by pooling their resources to better cope with the challenges of performance and education.
“This association, effective from next season, must give birth to a new club that will preserve the roots of Racing 92 as those of the Stade Français Paris while multiplying the means put at the service of youth and French rugby.”
Founded: 1890 (reformed in 2001)
Stadium: Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir
Coach: Laurent Labit
Captain: Dimitri Szarzewski
Stadium: Stade Jean-Bouin
Coach: Gonzalo Quesada
Captain: Sergio Parisse