Racing 92 and Stade Francais to merge into one club from 2017/18 season in radical Top 14 shake-up

The two Paris-based clubs will become one team from next season

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Racing 92 and Stade Francais are to be merged into one club from next season, the two sides have announced on Monday morning, triggering a radical shake-up of the Top 14 that is likely to produce a Parisian ‘super club’ containing the likes of Dan Carter and Sergio Parisse.

The news was revealed in a statement on the Racing 92 website that was headlined “Stronger together” in which it confirmed that the two Parisian rivals will become one club from the start of the 2017/18 season, subject to ratification from French league chiefs.

Racing president Jacky Lorenzetti and Stade president Thomas Savare have concluded talks to bring the two top tier clubs together by “pooling resources” in order to compete with the likes of Toulon and Clermont Auverge.

A joint-statement read: "Winners of the first two titles in the history of French rugby in 1892 and 1893, Racing 92 and Stade Francais Paris have also won the Brennus Shield in the last two seasons.

“These two flagship clubs of Paris, beyond the sporting rivalry they have enjoyed, have many other similarities: a strong local and regional presence, a historic coaching program, age-old ties with The Olympic movement and an incessant desire to progress in all areas.

“It is on the basis of these principles that the two clubs are laying the foundations for a merger project by pooling their resources to better cope with the challenges of performance and development.

“This merger, effective from next season, must give birth to a new club that will preserve the roots of Racing 92 and those of the Stade Français Paris, while increasing the resources available to serve youth and French rugby.

“Consolidated by its twin culture, the fierce determination of its two presidents and its increased audience in a population pool unrivaled in France, this new club has a long-term goal to build a true giant day after day."

The merger will create an additional space in the Top 14, which if approved by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby [LNR] will see the berth filled either by a play-off in the second tier ProD2 or by offering the spot to the next best-placed team in the division.