Stories from fans and about our best moments
PAU, RACING AND CASTRES WIN AWAY FROM HOMESection Paloise confirmed their excellent start to the season with a 24-39 win at Aimé Giral. The Catalans, on the other hand, were left without a single point in the standings...Racing beat Montpellier in their own backyard, while the Castrais achieved the performance of the day with a 24-27 win over La Rochelle at Marcel Deflandre.LYON AND TOULON ON TOP, TOULOUSE IN TROUBLEAfter a poor start to the league season, Lyon and Toulon came out on top on their home turf. The LOU won with an attacking bonus against Clermont, while Toulon largely dominated Oyonnax (41-7) with the return of Ollivon and Villière.For their part, reigning champions Toulouse, had a scare at Ernest-Wallon. Faced with a valiant Bordeaux side, it was late in the game that the Red and Blacks made the difference, winning 29-22.BAYONNE, UNSINKABLE AT JEAN-DAUGERIn what was their 15th sold-out match, the Basques once again proved their worth in front of their home crowd against Stade Français. Bayonnais have been unbeaten at Jean-Dauger since their return to the top flight in 2022. It was a victory that will not go down in the annals (16-3), but which enabled Grégory Patat's men to maintain their mid-table position.
At the end of each season, the same key moments occur. From the coronation of the champions, to a fortunate rise, to a difficult relegation, a small handful of players have a regular appointment: retirement. It's time to say goodbye to the team, the fans and the pitch.Clap de fin looks back at the careers of five players whose qualities and longevity have left their mark on French rugby. This summer, the "Clap de fin" selection gives you access to some of the great moments in the careers of six emblematic players in French rugby.2022-2023 will have been their last season, find Clap de fin on LegendaryPlays.comMathieu BastareaudTo be discovered on LegendaryPlays.com from 3 to 24 July The bulldozer of French rugby, Mathieu Bastareaud, ended his career on 16 July 2023. His imposing physique and powerful game made opposing defences tremble. Discover the moments when he destroyed everything in his path.Romain SazyAvailable on LegendaryPlays.com from 10/07La Rochelle's iconic captain, Romain Sazy, said farewell to rugby on 20 August 2023. His unwavering determination propelled his team to the top. Discover his moments of bravery that electrified the crowds.Rémi LameratAvailable on LegendaryPlays.com from 24 July.Masterful centre Rémi Lamerat retired on 5 August 2023. His visionary play and impeccable technique made him a true master of attack. Discover his moments of genius that left their mark on French rugby.Sergio ParisseAvailable from 31 July on LegendaryPlays.comLegendary number 8 Sergio Parisse played his last match on 12 August 2023. His leadership on the field and his vision of the game made him an icon of French rugby. Dive into the legacy he leaves behind.Morgan ParraAvailable on LegendaryPlays.com from 07 AugustExceptional scrum-half Morgan Parra has announced his retirement on 27 August 2023. His tactical intelligence and surgical precision on foot have made him a master of the game. Immerse yourself in the captivating world of this outstanding player.
TOULOUSE AND LA ROCHELLE AS CHAMPIONSAfter their setbacks on the opening day of the championship, the last Top 14 finalists were quick to respond. Les Rochelais clearly dominated LOU rugby (35-14), but let the attacking bonus point slip from their grasp. For their part, Toulouse outclassed the MHR to close out the second day (38-13). With 6 tries scored, including 3 in the first twenty minutes, Ugo Mola's men ran riot despite the absence of 17 internationals.TOULON, PAU AND BORDEAUX NARROWLY BEATENThere were no away wins this week, but there were some very close matches. Union Bordeaux-Bègles won by just two points against Castres (25-23). The same goes for Section Paloise, who beat Racing 92 by the same scoreline (19-17). RCT, meanwhile, struggled to escape the Bayonne trap with a narrow 19-14 win.STADE FRANÇAIS CONFIRMS, CLERMONT REACTSStade Français Paris confirmed on home turf the success they had achieved in Catalonia on Matchday 1. Although they were not flamboyant, the men from the capital secured the essential points by beating Oyonnax (28-18). ASM Clermont, for their part, reacted well after their rout of Oyonnax. The Clermonts won with an attacking bonus (38-14) against USA Perpignan.STADE FRANÇAIS ALONE AT THE TOP OF THE LEAGUEJust two games in and only one team remains unbeaten in this championship. With two wins from two games, albeit against lower-ranked teams (Perpignan and Oyonnax), Le Stade Français is the sole leader of the Top 14.
ONLY ONE AWAY WIN, FOR THE NEWLY-PROMOTED OYONNAX!Promoted side Oyonnax pulled off the biggest shot of the 8th round of the TOP 14 with a 21-26 win away to Montpellier. The result lifted Oyonnax up to 9th place in the standings, while Montpellier's 7th defeat in 8 rounds has taken them deeper into crisis... BORDEAUX, PAU, TOULOUSE AND RACING ON TOPUBB easily overcame Perpignan with an attacking bonus point (46-22), Damian Penaud scoring four tries in one half. The France XV winger shone in his first match in front of his home crowd at Chaban-Delmas.Pau confirmed their new status as one of the top teams in the TOP 14 by beating Stade Français in style (30-6), with the attacking bonus in their pocket.After their defeat at Castres, Toulouse responded well at Ernest-Wallon by beating Clermont with an attacking bonus (31-10). This bonus was earned on the last play of the match with a try from Baptiste Germain.Rounding off Round 8, Racing came from behind to beat La Rochelle, who were quickly reduced to 14 men. The 32-10 win sees the Racingmen move to the top of the table. LYON AND TOULON WIN IN STYLEAfter 3 consecutive defeats, Lyon bounced back with a 42-29 home win over Aviron Bayonnais.For their part, Toulon easily overcame Castres on the opening day (41-19). It was a win without a bonus, but one that puts the Var outfit in 4th place, their best position since the start of the season.
During the World Cup break, let's take a look at the performances of the teams in our league at the start of the season. AVIRON BAYONNAIS ➡️ A mixed start (1 win, 2 defeats) Bayonnais got the championship off to a perfect start with a 26-7 win over champions Toulouse at their Jean-Dauger stadium. They then lost to Toulon, but came away with a valuable defensive bonus point (19-14). Bayonnais, on the other hand, suffered a heavy defeat at Castres on Matchday 3, failing to score a single point (37-0). As if the Castres in-goal didn't exist. BORDEAUX-BÈGLES ➡️ An encouraging start to the season (2 wins, 1 defeat) The Bordelos-Béglais lost the opening match of the championship to Racing 92 (23-18), but picked up a defensive bonus point. They then followed that up with 2 straight wins over Castres (25-23) and Toulon (22-17) at their Chaban-Delmas stadium. Bordeaux loves suspense, and so do we! CASTRES OLYMPIQUE ➡️ A diesel start (2 wins, 1 loss) The Castrais won by the slimmest of margins on the opening day against Pau (24-23). They then lost at Chaban Delmas by just two points (25-23) before beating Bayonne on an amazing score (37-0). CLERMONT AUVERGNE ➡️ A monotonous start (2 wins, 1 defeat) ASM were outclassed by promoted Oyonnax in their league opener (36-17). They then responded well at home to USAP (38-14) and La Rochelle (11-10), in a boring match. LA ROCHELLE ➡️ A mediocre start (1 win, 2 defeats) Deprived of a number of key players, Les Rochelais opened their league campaign with a 26-15 defeat at Montpellier. They then responded well at Marcel-Deflandre against LOU (35-14). Just before the summer break, they left "Le Michelin" with a disappointing defensive bonus point (11-10). The Rochelais fans are eagerly awaiting the return of their international players. LYON ➡️ A good start, then a rout (1 win, 2 defeats) Lyon got their season off to the perfect start with an attacking bonus point win over RCT (27-15). They then conceded 35 points at La Rochelle and 40 at Pau. A break that will do the Lyonnais a world of good to get their heads back in the game. Over the past few days, we've had to deal with a few "LOUveteaux" on the pitch. MONTPELLIER ➡️ A very mixed start (1 win, 2 defeats) Despite their opening victory over La Rochelle (26-15), Montpellier then fell apart in the first half of the championship. Dominated by Toulouse on Matchday 2 (38-13), they failed to respond against Stade Français, losing 24-9. They will need to react quickly if they are to avoid going off course. OYONNAX ➡️ A decent start for a promoted team (1 win, 2 defeats) Admittedly, the results were not very good, but the content was rather encouraging. On their return to the top flight, Oyonnax beats Clermont 36-17 on their return to action. They then lost at Paris (28-18), before coming close to a defensive bonus against Toulouse (21-27). We're being rather lenient with the newcomers. PAU ➡️ Excellent recovery for The Palois (2 wins, 1 defeat) Despite losing by a single point to Castres (24-23), Les Palois quickly responded in the best possible way. After a hard-fought 19-17 win over Racing, the men in green outclassed LOU Rugby before the break, taking the attacking bonus (40-10). But who is this team? PERPIGNAN ➡️ A poor start (3 defeats) The Catalans have had a disastrous start to the season. Defeated at home by Stade Français on Matchday 1 (7-29), they failed to respond against Clermont (38-14) and suffered a heavy defeat against Racing on Matchday 3 (59-10). With 126 points conceded in 3 matches, Perpignan's start to the season has been nothing short of complicated. Should they have joined the Pro D2 last year? RACING 92 ➡️ A good start to the season (2 wins, 1 defeat) Racing got their campaign off to a good start with a 23-18 win over Bordeaux. They then lost to Pau at Le Hameau, picking up a defensive bonus (19-17). Finally, they unleashed their rugby against the Catalans of USAP (59-10), scoring 9 tries in the process. Les Ciel et Blanc show no mercy... STADE FRANÇAIS ➡️ Received 3/3 (3 wins) Admittedly, Stade Français have yet to face any of the big names in the Top 14, but they have done the basics - 3 games, 3 wins. First of all against Perpignan (7-29), then against Oyonnax (28-18), before dominating Montpellier (24-9). Real stadium gods! TOULON ➡️ A rollercoaster start (1 win, 2 defeats) RCT lost to Lyon in the opening match of the championship (27-15). They then responded well with a 19-14 win over Bayonne. Before the break, they came away from Bordeaux with a valuable defensive bonus point (22-17). Toulon is a mess. TOULOUSE ➡️ The rise crescendo (2 wins, 1 defeat) In the opening match of the championship at Jean-Dauger, the Toulousans looked unrecognisable against the Basques, losing 26-7. They then responded like champions by outclassing Montpellier (38-13), before winning at Oyonnax (21-27). Never doubt the big clubs. See you on 29 October to find out what happens next!
AVIRON BAYONNAIS WINS LEAGUE OPENERIn a packed Jean-Dauger stadium, Aviron Bayonnais came out on top against champions Toulouse (26-7). Led by an outstanding Camille Lopez, the Basques confirmed that they will be hard to beat at home, having never lost at Jean-Dauger last year.RACING AND CASTRES WITHIN TOUCHING DISTANCERacing's Ciels et Blancs came from behind to defeat Union Bordeaux-Bègles 23-18. Reduced to 14 men after just 4 minutes, the Racingmen were helped by a brace from Nolann Le Garrec. For their part, Castres Olympique won by the slimmest of margins against Pau (24-23). With Castres conceding 8 penalties, Pau's indiscipline cost them dearly in this match.OYONNAX MAKES A SUCCESSFUL RETURN TO THE TOP 14, LYON AND MONTPELLIER WIN THE CLASHESBack in the Top 14, 5 years after their last appearance, Oyonnax dominated Clermont at their Charles Mathon stadium (36-17). The LOU, meanwhile, picked up an attacking bonus against Toulon (27-15) to get their season off to a good start. Finally, to round off the first day, Montpellier beat last year's unfortunate finalists, La Rochelle, 26-15.
Sergio Parisse, Italian classSome players are gifted. There are players with talent. And then there are players with class. Sergio Parisse undeniably falls into this third category, that of stylish, elegant players who light up the game and invent new moves.Born in Argentina to Italian parents, Sergio discovered rugby at Club Universitario de La Plata. He quickly stood out from the crowd. Almost 2 metres tall, weighing just over 100 kilos, he had golden hands and rare speed for such a big man. John Kirwan's Italy were making eyes at him. And Parisse found himself making the journey to his parents' homeland, in the charming town of Treviso. That's where the story begins. At the age of 18, he signed his first pro contract for €800 a month. By the age of 19, he was a regular starter for his club. By the time he was 20, he was a key member of the Italian national team and played in his first World Cup, in Australia.His coach, John Kirwan, was spellbound. And he was already being compared to the greats: Zinzan Brooke, Imanol Harinordoquy and Morné du Plessis. It has to be said that Parisse can do it all. A talented line-out jumper and a decent defender, Sergio's uniqueness lies in his ability to hold the ball up. Able to play before or after contact, to pass the arms, to take the intervals and even... to play on foot. All this would be quite normal if Sergio Parisse wasn't a forward.A talent like that could not stay in Italy. So, perhaps because he too is different, certainly because the Italo-Argentine colony is present in force there, the most natural club for Parisse could only be... Paris. The Stade Français, with all its glitz, glamour and ambition. And as if the two were made for each other, the romance is total. Parisse is elegant and unpredictable, classy, yet singular, inspiring and, let's face it, sometimes astounding. The 8 is capable of carrying the ball 50 metres, of screwing in a pass like an opener, and his style is out of this world. He is adored by his supporters and respected by his opponents. And wherever he goes, he seems to single-handedly carry the ambitions of his teams. It's even worse with Italy, where he occasionally gives the impression of being the only talented player in a bottom-of-the-table team. View this post on Instagram A post shared by sergioparisse (@sergioparisse) The love affair between Paris and its third row will last fourteen years. That's enough time to win two Top 14 titles (2007 and 2015) and a European Challenge (2017), and it's enough time to splash the championship with his class. Aerial, free-flowing and inspired, he can attack from fly-half position in the same match, deliver a decisive chistera and overrun a centre. But the spirited young third row has aged. And when Stade Français won the Brennus Shield in 2015, Sergio was already 32. A career can fly by when it's this full. What happens after this title? Complicated. Love makes time pass, time makes love pass. At 36, the club of his life no longer believed in him. Too old, too expensive. So the end of the road seemed to be drawing near. But one team was reaching out to him. The RCT, which has never been afraid to give experienced players a chance, offered him one last challenge. Initially for two seasons. Parisse would stay for four years. At the end of each season, the Italian colossus tried to put an end to his career. And each time, the devouring passion that drives him takes over. In 2021, he announced he was hanging up his boots. Then he didn't. In 2022, as radiant as ever on the pitch, he even announced his retirement, almost certain, on Canal+. "If I tell my wife I'm doing another season, she'll kill me," he said. Then he opens the door, "you should never say never". In the end, as unpredictable as he was on the pitch, Parisse extended his Toulon adventure one last time. His history as a player is ending on a symbolic note. At the age of 39, the almost-doyen of the French championship set out one last time to conquer Europe. In the final of the Challenge, the only European Cup to have been offered to him, Toulon overthrew the Warriors in a deluge of tries (43-19). Parisse left the field in tears. So this time it really was over. After a career spanning almost 20 years, with 142 caps to his name and hundreds of unforgettable performances, Sergio Parisse will be putting his boots away.Unless... Unless the almost forty-year-old offers himself one last challenge in the form of a final feint. Unless, in a supreme act of honour, he postpones his retirement for a few months to take part in the Rugby World Cup in France. That's a possibility. And even if he has to convince his wife...
How hard it must be to be heralded as a future great player at just 15 years of age. Yet that's exactly what has weighed on Remi Lamerat's (solid) shoulders. His career path initially resembles a motorway to success: recruited by Toulouse at the age of 15, international under 16, under 17, under 18, under 19, under 20, upgraded with Toulouse before even reaching the age of majority.The first testsAnd if the path has been so linear and meteoric, it's because the young man has everything going for him. Solid (1.85 metres, over 100 kilos), explosive, fast and technical. He hasn't even played a minute of professional football and already he's being compared to Yannick Jauzion and Damien Traille.But be warned: the weight of expectation is a tricky thing to bear. Especially for a kid. In 2008, when he was due to join the first team after the injuries to Clément Poitrenaud and Vincent Clerc, he too was injured. The first of many...A new start at CastresThe following year, a comet crossed the skies of the Top 14. It had been expected for years, but its passage was to be meteoric. In three seasons with Stade Toulousain, the centre only played around twenty matches. This was obviously due to the competition. But also a certain fragility, which led to a succession of injuries. So, after three lacklustre seasons, Lamerat left Toulouse. The journey wasn't too far: 85km. He headed for Castres, the club where he needed to make his mark.But the misery continued: Remi Lamerat suffered two cruciate injuries in two years. And his first two seasons were blank. As the years went by, the prodigy was slow to establish himself at the top level. In fact, the first doubts even arose. Was Lamerat simply cut out for high-level rugby? The question remains, even when he finally makes a comeback. After 5 seasons of not playing, or almost not playing, the road is no longer as clear-cut. Success might come his way, but not through the detours he took and the tortuous paths he followed. His time at Castres was punctuated by a title. A victory over Toulon, which he watched in civilian clothes. Once again, injured. The turning point came the following yearThere was little time to make up for lost time. But the Girondins' rocket was launched: he finally established himself at the centre of the attack, multiplying his charges and his runs. He played more games in one season than in his entire professional career. Lamerat took the league by storm and never looked back. In 9 months, he had experienced it all: the joy of being a full-time rugby player, the exhilaration of a Top 14 final (which he lost this time), the joy of selection.The pinnacle: making his mark with "Les Bleus" and shining at club levelWith Les Bleus, Lamerat had to earn his place against the likes of Fofana, Bastareaud, Fickou, Dumoulin, Mermoz, Danty, Vakatawa, David, Chavancy and Ntamack (who made his debut at centre with the French national team). And yet he gradually made his mark. Perhaps because with Castres, then Clermont, he played in four finals in six years. Probably because his profile as a powerful puncher, a big defender and a courageous player meant that he could be associated with almost any other player without detracting from his qualities. He is at the peak of his powers at almost 30 years of age, a far cry from the promise of his precociousness. But that doesn't matter. With ASM in 2017, he won a third French Championship title of his own, his first as a regular starter.Rémi Lamerat should have been the best player of his generation. Yet when he hangs up his boots, the buffalo from Gironde will have no regrets. He was a French champion, an international, a starter at a World Cup and a fixture at almost every club he played for. A few nostalgic fans, or the curious few, will ask the fateful question: what if? And if Remi Lamerat had not suffered all those injuries, would he have been the greatest centre-half of all time? It's a question that will remain unanswered.
RACING AND TOULON WIN AWAY FROM HOMERacing beat their Parisian rivals 13-9 in disastrous conditions. Henry Chavancy, who scored the only try of the match, gave his team-mates an 8th consecutive victory at Jean-Bouin against Stade Français.For their part, Toulon produced the performance of the day by winning at their great rivals Clermont-Ferrand. Pierre Mignoni's men had a scare at the end of the match, but were able to get the job done, winning 30-27. BAYONNE AND OYONNAX ON TOP, MONTPELLIER IN FREEFALL18 years! Aviron Bayonnais had not won against Section Paloise for 18 years, and now they have! The Basques continue their unbeaten run at Jean-Dauger since their return to the top flight, and did so with an attacking bonus (35-16).Oyonnax, for their part, easily overcame Lyon 38-20. The only negative point was that they missed out on an attacking bonus point that was within their grasp...In the duel between Perpignan and Montpellier, USAP came out on top 23-16. Les Cistes leave Aimé-Giral empty-handed and in last place in the table... A very difficult moment for the Héraultais. LA ROCHELLE AND CASTRES WIN THE CLASHESCastres-Toulouse and La Rochelle-Bordeaux, the two matches that rugby fans have been waiting for!In the first, Castres Olympique beat their neighbours Toulouse 31-23. A late try from Wilfrid Hounkpatin secured the win. The Toulousains are still going through their running-in period since the start of the season...On Sunday evening, it was the Rochelais who came out on top in front of their home crowd at Marcel Deflandre. Trailing by 13 points, Ronan O'Gara's men fought back to claim a precious win on home soil (25-21).
The word legendary is sometimes overused. But Romain Ntamack's 78th-minute try in the Top 14 final between Toulouse and La Rochelle deserves the supreme adjective.Historic. Unforgettable. Memorable.Don't waste any more.La Rochelle should have won the final ...Let's be honest, Toulouse should not have won this match. La Rochelle logically led 26-22, dominating the scrum, the touchline, the ground and the scoreline. Stade Rochelais had done everything they could to take the lead with just a few seconds remaining.The fans believed in the miracle of a first title. Especially when the Toulouse opener, who was discovering the Stade de France as a first-team regular with Toulouse, kicked a dead ball on one of his team's rare highlights.At that precise moment, Toulouse could no longer win. Ugo Mola even thought of sending off the French prodigy, groggy after his blunder.But Romain Ntamack is not a normal player. He's not built like the others and, in his head, he's the strongest.Ntamack decided otherwiseIn a dazzling move on 78ᵉ minutes, the fly-half took an unlikely gap, tore through the black and yellow defence and finished off a furious 50-metre run into the Maritimes in-goal.La Rochelle had the shield in their hands. Romain Ntamack decided otherwise.An action like no other for a player like no other. A cruel outcome for the La Rochelle fans. Immense joy for the Toulouse fans.Toulouse's 29-26 victory will remain in the memories of all those who witnessed the match. Romain Ntamack's tears at the final whistle put an end to one of the greatest seasons in the history of the Top 14. View this post on Instagram A post shared by L'Équipe (@lequipe) Well done Toulouse. And thank you.
Day 22 of the 2022-2023 Top 14 was a day of confirmations.Confirmation of the bosses:The first is that Toulouse and La Rochelle are indeed the two bosses of the 2022-2023 version of the Top 14, with Les Maritimes beating Bayonne 26-6 and Toulouse, without a number of key players at the start, holding off Lyon in a spectacular match.Confirmation of probable relegationThe second certainty at the end of the weekend was that CA Brive would need a miracle to stay in the Top 14. Despite a courageous performance, the Corréziens lost at home to Stade Français (22-27). The Coujoux are now 14 points adrift of 12th place. An abyss.Confirmation that Montpellier will not keep their titleIn a remake of the 2022 final, Castres Olympique came from behind to defeat Montpellier. It was a defeat in the shape of a definitive stoppage for the MHR. And it provoked the anger of Philippe Saint-André, Montpellier's director of rugby: "We're ashamed of our fans, our president, our partners and the people who follow us. We were ready to play ping-pong and not rugby.Confirmation for RacingRacing won in the last second at home to Union Bordeaux-Bègles. It was a 31-28 win that has put the team from the Paris region back in the running for the finals. In the standings, the Racingmen are back in 6th place, just ahead of... Bordeaux.All the results on the National Rugby League website
As the name suggests, there are 14 teams in the Top 14. Each team plays each other in a two-legged format, so there are 26 matchdays (13*2).How do the TOP 14 rankings work?A win earns 4 points, a draw 2 points for each team and a defeat 0 points. So far, it's easy to understand, which is why bonus points have been added, otherwise it would be too simple.The attacking bonus:A team that scores three tries more than its opponent is rewarded with an attacking bonus. This bonus gives you an extra point in the standings.A victory with an attacking bonus therefore earns the winning team 5 points (4+1).The defensive bonus:For the losing team, a defensive bonus point has been introduced. To earn this point, you must lose by a margin of 5 points or less. This defensive bonus point allows the beaten team to gain 1 point in the standings.Summary of TOP 14 points :Win: 4 pointsDraw: 2 pointsLoss: 0 pointOffensive bonus: 1 additional pointDefensive bonus: 1 pointCan the same team get the offensive and defensive bonuses in a match?The answer is YES. It is rare but a team can get the offensive bonus while losing the match. If, on top of that, they lose by 5 points or less, they also get a defensive bonus. This would give the team 2 points in the standings (1+1).Example: Clermont lost to Toulon 19-21.Clermont scored 3 tries, 2 of which were converted, and Toulon scored 7 penalties.In this case, Toulon pockets the 4 points for victory, while Clermont pockets 2 points with the offensive bonus (3 more tries than the opponent) and defensive bonus (defeat by 5 points or less).Is the team finishing 1st in the standings after 26 rounds the direct champion?The answer is NO, because once again that would be too easy.After the regular phase, there is a final phase. What's incredible about the TOP 14 is that the team finishing in 6th place can be champions - crazy, isn't it?The first 2 teams in the ranking qualify for the semi-finals.The 3rd-placed team plays the 6th-placed team at home in a play-off.The 4th-placed team plays the 5th-placed team at home in a play-off.The winners of the play-offs play the top two teams in the semi-finals at a venue scheduled at the start of the season (Bordeaux for the 2023-2024 season).The winners of the semi-finals meet in the final at the Stade de France to decide the season's champion (the final will exceptionally be played in Marseille in 2024 in preparation for the Olympic Games).Blog RCT - Example of the final phaseWhat's happening at the bottom of the table?The team ranked 14th and last is relegated to Pro D2 (2nd division).The team ranked 13th plays an accession play-off match against the loser of the Pro D2 final. The match takes place at the home of the Pro D2 member and the winner of this match either stays in or moves up to the Top 14.
Come and discover the 15 reasons why you'll have an unforgettable experience alongside Louis Picamoles, legend of the XV de France:1. His expertise in the blue jerseyBecause with 82 caps, he's one of the most experienced players in the history of the XV de France. Only 9 of them have done better in the colours of the Rooster. So when it comes to a match with the French national team... he knows what he's talking about!2. His dressing room secretsHe played with 23 players in the France squad. So even though what happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room... he might still have some confidential files on his former teammates to share with you. 3. His memories against ItalyBecause he once lost a game to Italy. Yes, it happens even to the best. So he'll know perfectly well what pitfalls to avoid for the French XV. And why you should always be wary of the Squadra Azzura.4. The number 1000Because even though he has nothing to do with it, Louis Picamoles is international number 1000. And it's quite a feather in his cap.5. The title of bossBecause he probably played for your favourite club. Montpellier, Toulouse, Bordeaux, he's shone just about everywhere. And has always won unanimous praise. In fact, he's worn the armband almost everywhere.6. His nickname "King LouisLadies and Gentlemen: spend some time with one of the few Frenchmen to have played outside the Top 14. The third row was one of the major players in the English championship with Northampton. With the Saints, he became "King Louis", patron saint of our neighbours.7. His legendary recordBecause he's won everything. Or almost everything. Winner of the French Championship, the Champion's Cup and the Challenge Cup, the only trophy missing is the William Webb Ellis Cup. But he was a finalist in 2011...8. His travel logBecause he played in the World Cup. Three times. On 3 different continents. Experience can't be given away, but sometimes it can be told.9. The MHR Fantastic 4Louis doesn't have any superpowers, but he has inherited a super nickname. Along with his Montpellier mates Fulgence Ouedraogo, François Trinh-Duc and Julien Tomas, they embody the revival of the MHR. Young, handsome and talented, they are Montpellier's Fantastic 4. So Louis, what's it like to be a superhero?10. His friendsBecause what he misses in rugby are his friends. Just the thing: you're going to spend the evening with him! The start of a beautiful friendship?11. Its solidityHaving a friend who's 1.92m tall and weighs 118kg is reassuring. But that's no reason to look out for your neighbours in the stands!12. Its 2 big "dolphinsBecause you're about to spend some time with one of the most powerful players in the world. His former team-mate Sébastien Kuzbik used to say of him, "You tackle him at the top, you knock yourself out, you tackle him at the bottom, you knock yourself out. Nobody wanted to tackle him with his two big dolphins (thighs)". Do you like cetaceans?13. Its festivitiesBecause he was one of the players who imposed Freed From Desire in the dressing rooms of the French national team. Then after the French rugby team's victories. And football. And any sport. FREDDD FROMMM DESSSIRREEE! LA LA LA LALALA LA ! 14. His cheeseBecause you can talk goat milking and whey. Louis Picamoles is trying to launch a farm specialising in organic goat's cheese. A passionate profession.15. His acting careerLouis may have starred in a film, but it's his cousin Quitterie Picamoles' career that you should be talking about. As the former third row says so well, "there's more to life than rugby". There's art too.