French rugby is set to undergo a monumental shift in power after it was announced on Monday that Top 14 titans Racing 92 and Stade Francais will be merging into one club as of next season.
Both Paris clubs have endured nightmarish domestic seasons in 2016-17, with Stade currently 11th in France’s premier rugby division, while Racing are coping only slightly better in eighth.
The announced plans to combine powers means the two teams will merge in 2017-18, although it’s as of yet uncertain as to what the decision will mean for the players or who will coach the yet-to-be-named outfit.
That being said, one would imagine that with two such powerful clubs ready to join arms, the Top 14 title race will welcome one more frontrunner when the next campaign rolls around.
The change will also affect the structure of the Top 14, and the empty place next season will either be filled by a play-off fixture or by handing another promotion place from the ProD2 France’s second tier.