come together

Racing 92 and Stade Francais to merge for next season in dramatic move in French rugby

The two clubs have won the last two Top 14 titles in France.

pjimage (2) Brice Dulin and Pascal Pape set to become team-mates. INPHO INPHO

FRENCH RUGBY CLUBS Racing 92 and Stade Français have announced that they are to merge ahead of next season, in a dramatic move that has taken the rugby world by surprise.

Both clubs released statements on their websites this morning outlining that they will come together to form one club in Paris for the start of the 2017/18 campaign.

Racing 92 were crowned Top 14 champions last season when they defeated Toulon in the final, while Stade Français had triumphed in the 2015 Top 14 decider with a victory over Clermont-Auvergne.

In Europe, Racing 92 lost out to Saracens in the European Champions Cup decider last May while this season they failed to reach the knockout stages as they finished bottom of Pool 1 in the Champions Cup, losing twice to Munster in the process.

Munster team applaud off the Racing 92 team Munster players applaud off the Racing 92 team at Thomond Park in January. Inpho / Billy Stickland Inpho / Billy Stickland / Billy Stickland

Stade Français will contest the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup next month, when they take on Ospreys on Sunday 2 April.

In the current Top 14 standings in France, Racing are in seventh place, while Stade Français are 12th.

Club presidents Thomas Savare and Jacky Lorenzetti are set to hold a press conference this afternoon in Paris to go into greater detail on the merger.

It’s unclear yet what impact the move will have on Racing assistant coach Ronan O’Gara, who had previously signed a contract to remain with the club until 2019.

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