|Current season, competition or edition:|
|No. of teams||14|
| Toulouse (20th title)|
|Most titles||Toulouse (20 titles)|
|Relegation to||Rugby Pro D2|
|Official website||Official site|
The Top 14 (French pronunciation: [tɔp katɔʀz] ) is a professional rugby union club competition that is played in France created in 1892. The Top 14 is at the top of the national league system operated by the French National Rugby League, also known by its French initialism of LNR. There is promotion and relegation between the Top 14 and the next level down, the Rugby Pro D2. The fourteen best rugby teams in France participate in the competition, hence the name Top 14. The competition was previously known as the Top 16.
Professional sports, as opposed to amateur sports, are sports in which athletes receive payment for their performance. Professional athleticism has come to the fore through a combination of developments. Mass media and increased leisure have brought larger audiences, so that sports organizations or teams can command large incomes. As a result, more sportspeople can afford to make athleticism their primary career, devoting the training time necessary to increase skills, physical condition, and experience to modern levels of achievement. This proficiency has also helped boost the popularity of sports.
Rugby union, commonly known in most of the world simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end.
The French National Rugby League, known as the LNR, manages the professional rugby sector in France, by delegation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the French Rugby Federation.
The first ever final took place in 1892, between two Paris-based sides, Stade Français and Racing Club de France, with the latter becoming the inaugural champions. The competition has been held on an annual basis since, except from 1915 to 1919—because of World War I—and from 1940 to 1942—because of World War II. Toulouse is the most successful club in the competition with 20 titles.
Stade Français Paris is a French professional rugby union club based in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. The club plays in the Top 14 domestic league in France and is one of the most successful French clubs of the modern era. Stade Français was founded in 1883. It was founded in its current form in 1995 with the merger of the rugby sections of the Stade Français and Club Athlétique des Sports Généraux (CASG).
Racing 92 is a French rugby union club based in suburban Paris that was formed in 2001 with the collaboration of the Racing Club de France and US Métro. They were called Racing Métro 92 between 2001 and 2015, when they changed the name to Racing 92. "92" is the number of Hauts-de-Seine, a département of Île-de-France, bordering Paris to the west, where they play, and whose council gives financial backing to the club. They currently play in the Top 14, having been promoted as 2008–09 champions of Rugby Pro D2. After starting the 2017–18 season at the Stade Yves-du-Manoir stadium at Colombes, where the France national team played for several decades, Racing played their first match at the new U Arena, since renamed Paris La Défense Arena, in Nanterre on 22 December 2017.
Stade Toulousain, also referred to as Toulouse, is a French rugby union club from Toulouse in Occitania. Toulouse is one of the most successful clubs in Europe, having won the Heineken Cup a joint record four times – in 1996, 2003, 2005 and 2010. They were also runners-up in 2004 and 2008 against London Wasps and Munster, respectively. Stade Toulousain have also won a record 20 French Championship titles. It is traditionally one of the main providers for the French national team. Their home ground is the Stade Ernest-Wallon. However, big Top 14 matches along with Heineken Cup games are often played at the Stadium Municipal de Toulouse. The club colours are red, black and white.
The first competition was held in 1892, as a one-off championship game between the Racing Club de France and Stade Français. The Racing Club defeated Stade Français four points to three to win the first ever title, though the stadistes got their revenge the following year in a repeat of the final. The match official for that first final was Pierre de Coubertin. Stade Français would go on to win a number of titles thereafter. The 1897 and 1898 series were awarded on a points system after a round-robin. Although the competition was called the French championship, entry was confined to Parisian clubs. The 1899 season was the first to include clubs from outside of Paris, and led to Stade Bordelais (from Bordeaux) winning the final that season, which was also played outside of Paris, in Le Bouscat (a suburb of the city of Bordeaux).
Charles Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin was a French educator and historian, and founder of the International Olympic Committee, and its second President. He is considered one of the fathers of the modern Olympic Games. Born into a French aristocratic family, he became an academic and studied a broad range of topics, most notably education and history. He graduated with a degree in law and public affairs Paris Institute of Political Studies. It was at Sciences Po that he came up with the idea of the Summer Olympic Games.
Stade Bordelais are a French rugby union club, based in Bordeaux. The club was established in 1889. Bordelais were a major force in the French championship during the 1900s. Until 2005-06, the senior team competed in the second level of domestic competition, the Pro D2, but was merged with the senior team of CA Bordeaux-Bègles Gironde into Union Stade Bordelais-CA Bègles Bordeaux Gironde or USBCABBG. The club only keeps youth teams and a women's team that currently plays in the Second Division.
Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne in the Gironde department in Southwestern France.
For the following decade the championship game would usually end up being contested by the Racing Club, Stade Français and Stade Bordelais, with Stade Bordelais actually winning five titles during this period. During this time the final was usually held in various stadia around Paris with the exception of 1903 and 1909, when it was held in Toulouse, as SOE Toulouse and Stade Toulousain were finalists respectively. The competition was then won by a number of different clubs before World War I, with teams like FC Lyon, Stade Toulousain, Aviron Bayonnais and USA Perpignan claiming their first titles.
Toulouse is the capital of the French department of Haute-Garonne and of the region of Occitanie. The city is on the banks of the River Garonne, 150 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea, 230 km (143 mi) from the Atlantic Ocean and 680 km (420 mi) from Paris. It is the fourth-largest city in France, with 466,297 inhabitants as of January 2014. In France, Toulouse is called the "Pink City".
Aviron Bayonnais is a French rugby union club from Bayonne in Pyrénées-Atlantiques which, for the 2016-17 season, competed in the top tier of the French league system, in the Top 14 competition. In the 2015–16 Rugby Pro D2 Season they were promoted after finishing 2nd and winning the playoff final against Aurillac. In the 2016-2017 season, they finished in last place, and will be relegated back to Pro D2 for the 2017-18 season. Founded in 1904, they play at the Parc des Sports also known as Jean Dauger in Bayonne. Their mascot is a pottok pony called pottoka. They have ties to the French Basque community.
Union Sportive des Arlequins Perpignanais generally referred to as USA Perpignan, is a French rugby union club that plays in the city of Perpignan in Pyrénées-Orientales in the south of France. The club currently competes in the Top 14, the first level of the French league system.
Due to the war, operations were suspended for a number of years. In its place, a competition known as the Coupe de l'Espérance was held, which involved mostly young boys who had not yet been drafted. The competition was held four times, but is not normally considered a full championship. The normal competition returned for the 1920 season, and Stadoceste Tarbais became the first post-war champions, defeating the Racing Club de France in the final. During the 1920s Stade Toulousain would create its now famous rugby history, winning five championships during the decade (Stade's very first feat took place in 1912 when they were crowned champions without losing a single game in the whole season: the team was nicknamed "la Vierge Rouge" — the Red Virgin). USA Perpignan would also win two championships (their 1925 final victory was actually a second match, as a previous final had ended in a nil-all draw).
The Coupe de l'Espérance was a rugby union competition that was played in France to replace the national championship during World War I, as many players were sent to the front. The teams used mostly young boys who had not been drafted yet. The cup was awarded only four times (1916-1919) and does not count as a full championship title among club honours.
Tarbes Pyrénées Rugby is a French rugby union team that currently takes part in the promotion-eligible pool of Fédérale 1, the third, semi-professional level of the country's league system.
During the 1930s the championship game was held only in Bordeaux and Toulouse. The 1930 championship game, won by Agen over US Quillan, was the first final to go into extra time. It would also see Toulon and Lyon OU win their first championship games. During the latter part of the decade, RC Narbonne, CS Vienne and Perpignan all won titles, and Biarritz Olympique were champions in both 1935 and 1939.
Sporting Union Agen Lot-et-Garonne, commonly referred to as Agen[aʒɛ̃], is a French rugby union club based in Agen in the department of Lot-et-Garonne. They currently play in the top flight of French professional rugby, the Top 14.
Rugby Club Toulonnais, also known as RCT but usually Toulon; Occitan: Rugbi Club Tolonenc) is a French professional rugby union club based in Toulon in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. A current participant in the first-tier Top 14 competition, they have won the national competition on four occasions.
Racing Club de Narbonne Méditerannée is a French rugby union club that play in the second-level Rugby Pro D2.
After the war the championship final returned to Paris, and was played at Parc des Princes for the next four seasons. The competition during the 1940s was won by a number of different teams, though Castres won in 1949, and then again in 1950. FC Lourdes would become a dominant club during the 1950s, winning five championships, and another in 1960.
SU Agen would go on to win three titles during the 1960s as well. Lourdes were also the champions of the 1968 season, but due to the May 1968 events, the finale was played three weeks behind normal schedule. At the end of regulation time the score was tied at 6–6, and then 9–9 after extra-time. Lourdes were declared champions because they had scored two tries to Toulon's none and also because it was impossible to reschedule a third final so late, as the French national team were to leave on a tour to New Zealand and South Africa.
Although Béziers won their first championship in the 1961 season, it would be the 1970s which would see a golden era for the club, as they would win ten championships between 1971 and 1984, as well as being runners-up in 1976. Also in the mid 1970s, after being held in Toulouse, Lyon and Bordeaux in recent years, the championship final was taken to Parc des Princes, Paris, on a permanent basis. During the rest of the 1980s, Toulouse were the dominant team, winning the championship in 1985, 1986 and 1989. Toulon won in 1987 (and were runners-up in 1985 and 1989), and Agen won in 1988 (and were runners-up in 1984 and 1986).
The first match of the 1990s went into extra time, as the Racing Club de France defeated Agen, winning their first championship since 1959. Bègles, Toulon, Castres and Toulouse would win the following finals. The 1990s also saw the game of rugby union go professional following the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. This also led to the establishment of the European Heineken Cup. Including their 1994 victory, Toulouse won four championships in succession. For the 1998 season, the final was moved to the newly constructed Stade de France, the new national stadium. The final, played in front of 78,000, saw Stade Français win their first championship since 1908.
The competition saw an enormous rise in popularity in 2005–06, with attendance rising to an average of 9,600, up by 25% from 2004–05, and numerous sellouts. On 15 October 2005, Stade Français drew a crowd of 79,502 at Stade de France for their home match against Toulouse; this broke the previous French attendance record for a regular-season league match in any sport (including football) by over 20,000. That record was broken on 4 March 2006, when Stade Français drew 79,604 to a rematch of the 2004–05 final against Biarritz at Stade de France. It was broken again on 14 October 2006 with 79,619 as the same two opponents met, and a fourth time on 27 January 2007, with 79,741 for another Stade Français-Toulouse match.During the regular season 2010–2011, the average attendance per match reached 14,184.
In 2011, Canal+ indicated that evening matches were being watched by 800,000–850,000 viewers while afternoon matches were watched by around 700,000 viewers.
In recent years, numerous foreign players have joined Top 14 teams.
In August 2016, LNR released a strategic plan outlining its vision for French rugby through the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The plan includes significant changes to the top levels of the league system, although the changes were more dramatic for Pro D2 than for the Top 14. Changes affecting the Top 14 are:
On 13 March 2017, the Top 14 was rocked by the announcement that Racing 92 and Stade Français planned to merge into a single club effective with the 2017–18 season.Stade Français players soon voted almost unanimously to go on strike over the proposed merger, and within days LNR held an emergency meeting to discuss the Paris clubs' plans. The clubs announced on 19 March that the planned merger had collapsed.
|SU Agen Lot-et-Garonne||Agen (Lot-et-Garonne)||Stade Armandie||14,000|
|Union Bordeaux Bègles||Bordeaux (Gironde)||Stade Chaban-Delmas (Bordeaux)||34,694|
|Castres Olympique||Castres (Tarn)||Stade Pierre-Fabre||12,500|
|ASM Clermont Auvergne||Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme)||Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin||19,022|
|FC Grenoble||Grenoble (Isère)||Stade des Alpes||20,068|
|Lyon OU||Lyon (Métropole de Lyon)||Matmut Stadium de Gerland||25,000|
|Montpellier||Montpellier (Hérault)||Altrad Stadium||15 697|
|Section Paloise||Pau (Pyrénées-Atlantiques)||Stade du Hameau||18,324|
|USA Perpignan||Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales)||Stade Aimé Giral||16,600|
|Racing 92||Nanterre (Hauts-de-Seine)||Paris La Défense Arena||30,681|
|Stade Rochelais||La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime)||Stade Marcel-Deflandre||16,000|
|Stade Français Paris||Paris, 16th arrondissement||Stade Jean-Bouin||20,000|
|RC Toulonnais||Toulon (Var)||Stade Mayol||18,300|
|Stade Toulousain||Toulouse (Haute-Garonne)||Stade Ernest-Wallon||19,500|
Over recent years, the Top 14 has seen the economic strength of its clubs rise significantly. Helped by high attendance, large television rights contracts,public subsidies and the rise of the euro exchange rate, Top 14 clubs have seen their overall spending budget increase significantly. In 2011–2012, 4 clubs had a budget over 20 million euros: Toulouse (33), Clermont (24), Racing Métro [now Racing 92] (22), Stade Francais (21). The average salary of players in the Top 14 was estimated to have risen, in 2010, to $153,700 (compared to $123,000 in the English Premiership). The wealth of the Top 14 clubs has led them to attract a large number of international players, and to build teams with more strength in depth (in 2011, Top 14 clubs could have as many as 45 players, compared to 33 for Leicester Tigers, 2010 Premiership winner).
Two recent changes in regulation may somewhat limit this economic growth. First, the French government repealed the law known as DIC (Droit à l'Image Collectif) on 1 July 2010. This law had allowed all member clubs in French professional sports organisations to treat 30% of each player's salary as image rights. This portion of player salaries was thus exempt from France's high payroll and social insurance taxes.
Second, to control the growth of club spending, the LNR introduced a salary cap in the Top 14 in the 2010–11 season. Under the provisions of the cap, team payrolls were limited to €8 million.This is in addition to an existing requirement that wage bills be no more than 50% of a team's turnover. However, the €8 million cap was 5% greater than the highest official wage bill in the 2009–10 Top 14, and translated to £7.1 million at the time the cap was announced, well above the English Premiership's then-current £4 million cap. For the 2011–2012 season, the LNR raised the salary cap to €8.7 million. Since then, the cap has risen still further, to €10 million starting in 2013–14 and continuing through 2015–16. Additionally, the cap now excludes youth players whose salaries are no more than €50,000.
At the same time as LNR announced the salary cap, it also announced new rules requiring a minimum percentage of French players on club rosters. Players qualifying under these rules, referred to in French as JIFF (joueurs issus des filières de formation, loosely translated as "academy-trained players"), must have been registered with the FFR for at least five years before turning 23, or have spent three seasons in an FFR-approved training centre before turning 21.Original plans were to require 50% JIFFs in 2010–11, but protests from leading clubs led to a reduction to 40% for that season. Initially, the 50% quota was to be met in 2011–12, and 60% in 2012–13, but a compromise with the clubs saw no change to the limit until 2013–14, at which time it increased to 55%. Additionally, effective in 2015–16, LNR was allowed to fine clubs that did not have a minimum of 12 JIFFs in their matchday squads. These regulations, however, do not consider eligibility to play for the French national team. For example, although the Armitage brothers (Delon, Steffon and Guy) all represented England internationally, they qualified as JIFF because of their tenure in Nice's youth setup. On the other hand, recent France international Jérôme Thion, despite being a native and lifelong resident of France, did not qualify because he switched from basketball to rugby too late in his youth.
While the most visible critics of the change in policy were wealthy club owners such as Mourad Boudjellal of Toulon and Max Guazzini of Stade Français, concern had been growing in French rugby circles that some smaller clubs might fold completely. Bourgoin only avoided a bankruptcy filing in 2009 by players agreeing to large wage cuts, and Brive, whose 2009–10 wage bill was €7.2 million, announced that they would cut their budget by 40% for the 2010–11 season.Following the 2009–10 season, Bourgoin were denied a professional licence by LNR due to their ongoing financial issues, but the French Rugby Federation (FFR) reversed this decision on Bourgoin's appeal. Montauban were relegated at the end of the same season after filing for bankruptcy.
By the 2012–13 season, the internationalization of the Top 14 had reached such a state that Irish rugby journalist Ian Moriarty, who has had considerable experience covering the French game, asked the rhetorical question, "Has there ever been such a large disconnect between France's club teams and the international side they are supposed to serve?" He cited the following statistics from that season to make his point:
While the JIFF policy worked on one level—the number of foreign players recruited into the Top 14 went from 61 for 2011–12 to 34 for 2014–15—clubs quickly found a way around the rules. Many clubs dispatched scouts to identify top teenage prospects in other countries, and then enrolled them in their academies to start the JIFF qualification process. For example, the 59 players in the 2015–16 Clermont youth squad included 17 from nine countries outside of France.A more fundamental problem was identified in 2015 by Laurent Labit, at the time backs coach of the club now known as Racing 92. In an interview with British rugby journalist Gavin Mortimer, Labit pointed out that France has no organized team sport in its educational system at the primary level—children must join an outside club in order to play sports. Only at age 15 do youths have the opportunity to attend special sporting schools, but places in such institutions are limited. In turn, this means that most young French players are technically well behind their counterparts in many other countries, most notably Commonwealth members and Ireland.
The Top 14 is contested by fourteen professional rugby union clubs throughout France. The domestic season runs from August through to June. Every club contests 26 games during the regular season – over 26 rounds of competition. For many years, the season was split into two halves for scheduling purposes, with both halves scheduled in the same order, with the team at home in the first half of the season on the road in the second. However, this strict order has since been abandoned, although the season is still loosely divided into halves. Throughout the August–June competition there are breaks during the season, as there are also European club fixtures (from 2014–15, Champions Cup and Challenge Cup) that are played during the rugby season, as well as the Six Nations Championship, in which many top French players are involved, as well as a few players from the other European powers. The schedule may be adjusted somewhat in World Cup years; this was especially true in the 2007–08 season, which ran up against the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. That season, the Top 14 played on all of the Six Nations weekends and on some of the Heineken Cup weekends.
The Top 14 is organized by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), which runs the professional rugby leagues within France (Top 14 and Rugby Pro D2). There is a promotion and relegation system between the Top 14 and Pro D2. Starting with the 2017-18 season, only the lowest-placed club in the table after the regular season is automatically relegated to Pro D2. The playoff champion of Pro D2 is automatically promoted, while the next-to-last Top 14 club and the playoff runner-up of Pro D2 play each other to determine which club will be in Top 14, and which will be in Pro D2 the following season. Starting with the 2009–10 season, the Top 14 knock-out stages consist of three rounds. The teams finishing third through to sixth in the table play quarter-finals, hosted by the No. 3 and No. 4 teams. The winners then face the top two seeds in the semi-finals, whose winners then meet in the final at the Stade de France (although the 2016 final was instead held at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain due to a scheduling conflict with France's hosting of UEFA Euro 2016). In previous seasons, only the top four teams qualified for semi-finals. Unlike many other major rugby competitions (such as the Aviva Premiership, Mitre 10 Cup, Currie Cup, and from 2009–10 the Celtic League/Pro12), the Top 14 has traditionally held its semi-finals at neutral sites.
Regardless of the playoff format, the top six teams had qualified for the following season's Heineken Cup in the final years of that competition, and since 2013–14 a minimum of six teams qualify for the European Rugby Champions Cup. Before the 2009–10 season, the seventh-place team also qualified if a French club advanced farther in that season's Heineken Cup than any team from England or Italy. While the European qualification system was changed for 2009–10, the normal contingent of six Top 14 teams in the Heineken Cup did not change. The default number of French teams in the Champions Cup has remained at six, but the method for a seventh French team to qualify has changed from performance in the previous European season to a post-season playoff. For the inaugural Champions Cup in 2014–15, this playoff involved the seventh-place teams from both England and the Top 14; in future years, the same two sides will be joined by one Pro12 side.
Previously in the first phase of the then-Top 16, the teams were divided into two pools of eight. This was followed by a second phase, in which the eight highest-ranked teams played for semi-final spots and the bottom eight teams battled against relegation. In 2004–05, the top division consisted of a single pool of 16 teams, with the top four teams advancing to a knockout playoff at the end of the season to determine the champion. From 2005–06 through 2008–09, the top division was run with a single pool of 14 teams, again with a season-ending four-team playoff. The single pool was retained for 2009–10, but the playoffs were expanded to six teams.
The LNR uses a slightly different bonus points system from that used in most other major domestic competitions. Instead of a bonus point being awarded for scoring 4 tries in a match, regardless of the match result, a bonus point is awarded to a winning team that scores 3 tries more than its opponent. This system makes two scenarios that can be seen in the standard system impossible:
For 2014–15, LNR further tweaked its bonus point system. The margin of defeat that allows the losing team to earn a bonus point was reduced from 7 points to 5.
The Top 14 serves as the qualification route for French clubs in European club competition. Starting with the 2014–15 season, Top 14 teams compete in the new European club rugby competitions—the European Rugby Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup replaced the previous European competitions, the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup.
Under the new structure, the top six teams on the Top 14 table qualify directly for the following season's Champions Cup. The seventh-placed team advances to a play-off for another Champions Cup place. In 2013–14, the play-off involved said Top 14 club and the seventh-placed club in the English Premiership. Initially, plans were for the play-off in subsequent years to also include two sides from Pro12 in the Celtic nations and Italy.Due to fixture clashes with the Top 14 season, the play-off that followed the 2014–15 season involved only one Pro12 side. Because the start of the 2015–16 European season ran up against the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the play-off was completely scrapped for that season, with the final Champions Cup place for 2016–17 instead awarded to the winner of the 2016 Challenge Cup.
In the Heineken Cup era, a minimum of six French clubs qualified for the Heineken Cup, with the possibility of a seventh depending on the performance of French clubs in the previous season's Heineken Cup and Challenge Cup.
All Top 14 clubs that do not qualify for the Champions Cup automatically qualify for the Challenge Cup.This means that all Top 14 clubs will participate in European competition during a given season.
The French clubs have had success in the European competitions. The inaugural Heineken Cup, held in the 1995–96 season, was won by Toulouse, which would eventually claim three more championships (2003, 2005 and 2010). It was not until the fifth championship game that there was no French team in the final. There have also been five occasions where the final was an all-French affair. The first three were all won by Toulouse (against Perpignan in 2003, Stade Français in 2005, and Biarritz in 2010); the other two were victories by Toulon over Clermont in 2013 and 2015.
In addition to the French success in the Heineken Cup and Champions Cup, the clubs in the lower European competitions have achieved similar results. The first four finals of the European Challenge Cup (1997–2000) were all-French affairs. Since then, however, only four French clubs (Clermont in 2007, Biarritz in 2012, Montpellier in 2016, and Stade Français in 2017) have won this competition, and French clubs in general have had less success; the revised Top 16/Top 14 format has required them to pay more attention to league games in order to avoid relegation. The now defunct European Shield, a repechage tournament for clubs knocked out in the first round of the Challenge Cup that was played for three seasons in 2003–05, was won by a French team each time.
|Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points For||Points Against||Points Diff.||Tries For||Tries Against||Try Bonus||Losing Bonus||Points|
|5||La Rochelle (SF)||26||16||0||10||719||616||+103||89||66||6||1||71|
If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
|Green background (rows 1 and 2) receive semi-final play-off places and receive berths in the 2019–20 European Rugby Champions Cup.|
Blue background (rows 3 to 6) receive quarter-final play-off places, and receive berths in the Champions Cup.
Plain background indicates teams that earn a place in the 2019–20 European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Pink background (row 13) will qualify to the Relegation play-offs.
Red background (row 14) will automatically be relegated to Rugby Pro D2.
Final table — source:
2019 June 15, 2019 Toulouse 24 - 18 Clermont
Since the 2008-09 season, the Top 14 regular season and playoff quarter-finals and playoff semi-finals have been televised by Canal+. Between the 2008-09 season and the 2010-11 season, France Télévisions televised the playoff final, but since the 2011-12 season they and Canal+ jointly televised the playoff final.
The following clubs have won the title:
|Stade Toulousain||20||1912, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1947, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2019|
|Stade Français||14||1893, 1894, 1895, 1897, 1898, 1901, 1903, 1908, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2015|
|AS Béziers||11||1961, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984|
|Union Bordeaux Bègles||9||1899, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1909, 1911 (as Stade Bordelais), 1969, 1991 (as CA Bordeaux-Bègles)|
|SU Agen||8||1930, 1945, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1976, 1982, 1988|
|FC Lourdes||8||1948, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1968|
|USA Perpignan||7||1914, 1921, 1925, 1938, 1944, 1955, 2009|
|Racing 92||6||1892, 1900, 1902, 1959, 1990 (all as Racing Club de France), 2016 (as Racing 92)|
|Biarritz Olympique||5||1935, 1939, 2002, 2005, 2006|
|Castres Olympique||5||1949, 1950, 1993, 2013, 2018|
|RC Toulonnais||4||1931, 1987, 1992, 2014|
|Aviron Bayonnais||3||1913, 1934, 1943|
|Section Paloise||3||1928, 1946, 1964|
|Stadoceste Tarbais||2||1920, 1973|
|Clermont Auvergne||2||2010, 2017|
|Olympique de Pantin||1||1896|
|ROC La Voulte-Valence||1||1970 (as La Voulte Sportif)|
The scores in green are links to the account of each final on the site of the professional league (LNR). In French.
|20 March 1892||Racing Club de France||4–3||Stade Français||Bagatelle, Paris||2,000|
|19 May 1893||Stade Français||7–3||Racing Club de France||Bécon-les-Bruyères||1,200|
|18 March 1894||Stade Français||18–0||Inter NOS||Bécon-les-Bruyères||1,500|
|17 March 1895||Stade Français||16–0||Olympique de Paris||Stade Vélodrome, Courbevoie||...|
|5 April 1896||Olympique de Pantin||12–0||Stade Français||Vélodrome, Courbevoie||...|
|1897||Stade Français||Olympique de Pantin||...|
|1898||Stade Français||Racing Club de France||...|
|30 April 1899||Stade Bordelais||5–3||Stade Français||Route du Médoc, Le Bouscat||3,000|
|22 April 1900||Racing Club de France||37–3||Stade Bordelais||Levallois-Perret||1,500|
|31 March 1901||Stade Français||0–3||Stade Bordelais||Route du Médoc, Le Bouscat||...|
|23 March 1902||Racing Club de France||6–0||Stade Bordelais||Parc des Princes, Paris||1,000|
|26 April 1903||Stade Français||16–8||SOE Toulouse||Prairie des Filtres, Toulouse||5,000|
|27 March 1904||Stade Bordelais||3–0||Stade Français||La Faisanderie, Saint-Cloud||2,000|
|16 April 1905||Stade Bordelais||12–3||Stade Français||Route du Médoc, Le Bouscat||6,000|
|8 April 1906||Stade Bordelais||9–0||Stade Français||Parc des Princes, Paris||4,000|
|24 March 1907||Stade Bordelais||14–3||Stade Français||Route du Médoc, Le Bouscat||12,000|
|5 April 1908||Stade Français||16–3||Stade Bordelais||Stade Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes||10,000|
|4 April 1909||Stade Bordelais||17–0||Stade Toulousain||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||15,000|
|17 April 1910||FC Lyon||13–8||Stade Bordelais||Parc des Princes, Paris||8,000|
|8 April 1911||Stade Bordelais||14–0||SCUF||Route du Médoc, Le Bouscat||12,000|
|31 March 1912||Stade Toulousain||8–6||Racing Club de France||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||15,000|
|20 April 1913||Aviron Bayonnais||31–8||SCUF||Stade Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes||20,000|
|3 May 1914||USA Perpignan||8–7||Stadoceste Tarbais||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||15.000|
|1915–1919||Due to the war, the championship was replaced by the Coupe de l'Espérance|
|25 April 1920||Stadoceste Tarbais||8–3||Racing Club de France||Route du Médoc, Le Bouscat||20,000|
|17 April 1921||USA Perpignan||5–0||Stade Toulousain||Parc des Sports de Sauclières, Béziers||20,000|
|23 April 1922||Stade Toulousain||6–0||Aviron Bayonnais||Route du Médoc, Le Bouscat||20,000|
|13 May 1923||Stade Toulousain||3–0||Aviron Bayonnais||Stade Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes||15,000|
|27 April 1924||Stade Toulousain||3–0||USA Perpignan||Parc Lescure, Bordeaux||20,000|
|3 May 1925||USA Perpignan||5–0||US Carcassonne||Maraussan, Narbonne||20,000|
|2 May 1926||Stade Toulousain||11–0||USA Perpignan||Parc Lescure, Bordeaux||25,000|
|29 May 1927||Stade Toulousain||19–9||Stade Français||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||20,000|
|6 May 1928||Section Paloise||6–4||US Quillan||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||20,000|
|19 May 1929||US Quillan||11–8||FC Lézignan||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||20,000|
|18 May 1930||SU Agen||4–0 a.e.t.||US Quillan||Parc Lescure, Bordeaux||28,000|
|10 May 1931||RC Toulon||6–3||Lyon OU||Parc Lescure, Bordeaux||10,000|
|5 May 1932||Lyon OU||9–3||RC Narbonne||Parc Lescure, Bordeaux||13,000|
|7 May 1933||Lyon OU||10–3||RC Narbonne||Parc Lescure, Bordeaux||15,000|
|13 May 1934||Aviron Bayonnais||13–8||Biarritz Olympique||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||18,000|
|12 May 1935||Biarritz Olympique||3–0||USA Perpignan||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||23,000|
|10 May 1936||RC Narbonne||6–3||AS Montferrand||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||25,000|
|2 May 1937||CS Vienne||13–7||AS Montferrand||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||17,000|
|8 May 1938||USA Perpignan||11–6||Biarritz Olympique||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||24,600|
|30 April 1939||Biarritz Olympique||6–0 a.e.t.||USA Perpignan||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||23,000|
|1940 – 1942||Due to World War II, no championship was played|
|21 March 1943||Aviron Bayonnais||3–0||SU Agen||Parc des Princes, Paris||28,000|
|26 March 1944||USA Perpignan||20–5||Aviron Bayonnais||Parc des Princes, Paris||35,000|
|7 April 1945||SU Agen||7–3||FC Lourdes||Parc des Princes, Paris||30,000|
|24 March 1946||Section Paloise||11–0||FC Lourdes||Parc des Princes, Paris||30,000|
|13 April 1947||Stade Toulousain||10–3||SU Agen||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||25,000|
|18 April 1948||FC Lourdes||11–3||RC Toulon||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||29,753|
|22 May 1949||Castres Olympique||14–3||Stade Montois||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||23,000|
|16 April 1950||Castres Olympique||11–8||Racing Club de France||Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse||25,000|
|20 May 1951||US Carmaux||14–12 a.e.t.||Stadoceste Tarbais||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||39,450|
|4 May 1952||FC Lourdes||20–11||USA Perpignan||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||32,500|
|17 May 1953||FC Lourdes||21–16||Stade Montois||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||32,500|
|23 May 1954||FC Grenoble||5–3||US Cognac||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||34,230|
|22 May 1955||USA Perpignan||11–6||FC Lourdes||Parc Lescure, Bordeaux||39,764|
|3 June 1956||FC Lourdes||20–0||US Dax||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||38,426|
|26 May 1957||FC Lourdes||16–13||Racing Club de France||Stade Gerland, Lyon||30,000|
|18 May 1958||FC Lourdes||25–8||SC Mazamet||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||37,164|
|24 May 1959||Racing Club de France||8–3||Stade Montois||Parc Lescure, Bordeaux||31,098|
|22 May 1960||FC Lourdes||14–11||AS Béziers||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||37,200|
|28 May 1961||AS Béziers||6–3||US Dax||Stade de Gerland, Lyon||35,000|
|27 May 1962||SU Agen||14–11||AS Béziers||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||37,705|
|2 June 1963||Stade Montois||9–6||US Dax||Parc Lescure, Bordeaux||39,000|
|24 May 1964||Section Paloise||14–0||AS Béziers||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||27.797|
|23 May 1965||SU Agen||15–8||CA Brive||Stade Gerland, Lyon||28,758|
|22 May 1966||SU Agen||9–8||US Dax||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||28,803|
|28 May 1967||US Montauban||11–3||CA Béglais||Parc Lescure, Bordeaux||32,115|
|16 June 1968||FC Lourdes||9–9 a.e.t.||RC Toulon||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||28,526|
|18 May 1969||CA Béglais||11–9||Stade Toulousain||Stade Gerland, Lyon||22,191|
|17 May 1970||La Voulte Sportif||3–0||AS Montferrand||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||35,000|
|16 May 1971||AS Béziers||15–9 a.e.t.||RC Toulon||Parc Lescure, Bordeaux||27,737|
|21 May 1972||AS Béziers||9–0||CA Brive||Stade Gerland, Lyon||31,161|
|20 May 1973||Stadoceste Tarbais||18–12||US Dax||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse||26,952|
|12 May 1974||AS Béziers||16–14||RC Narbonne||Parc des Princes, Paris||40,609|
|18 May 1975||AS Béziers||13–12||CA Brive||Parc des Princes, Paris||39,991|
|23 May 1976||SU Agen||13–10 a.e.t.||AS Béziers||Parc des Princes, Paris||40,300|
|29 May 1977||AS Béziers||12–4||USA Perpignan||Parc des Princes, Paris||41,821|
|28 May 1978||AS Béziers||31–9||AS Montferrand||Parc des Princes, Paris||42,004|
|27 May 1979||RC Narbonne||10–0||Stade Bagnérais||Parc des Princes, Paris||41,981|
|25 May 1980||AS Béziers||10–6||Stade Toulousain||Parc des Princes, Paris||43,350|
|23 May 1981||AS Béziers||22–13||Stade Bagnérais||Parc des Princes, Paris||44,106|
|29 May 1982||SU Agen||18–9||Aviron Bayonnais||Parc des Princes, Paris||41,165|
|28 May 1983||AS Béziers||14–6||RRC Nice||Parc des Princes, Paris||43,100|
|26 May 1984||AS Béziers||21–21 a.e.t.||SU Agen||Parc des Princes, Paris||44,076|
|25 May 1985||Stade Toulousain||36–22 a.e.t.||RC Toulon||Parc des Princes, Paris||37,000|
|24 May 1986||Stade Toulousain||16–6||SU Agen||Parc des Princes, Paris||45,145|
|22 May 1987||RC Toulon||15–12||Racing Club de France||Parc des Princes, Paris||48,000|
|28 May 1988||SU Agen||9–3||Stadoceste Tarbais||Parc des Princes, Paris||48,000|
|27 May 1989||Stade Toulousain||18–12||RC Toulon||Parc des Princes, Paris||48,000|
|26 May 1990||Racing Club de France||22–12 a.e.t.||SU Agen||Parc des Princes, Paris||45,069|
|1 June 1991||CA Bordeaux-Bègles Gironde||19–10||Stade Toulousain||Parc des Princes, Paris||48,000|
|6 June 1992||RC Toulon||19–14||Biarritz Olympique||Parc des Princes, Paris||48,000|
|5 June 1993||Castres Olympique||14–11||FC Grenoble||Parc des Princes, Paris||48,000|
|28 May 1994||Stade Toulousain||22–16||AS Montferrand||Parc des Princes, Paris||48,000|
|6 May 1995||Stade Toulousain||31–16||Castres Olympique||Parc des Princes, Paris||48,615|
|1 June 1996||Stade Toulousain||20–13||CA Brive||Parc des Princes, Paris||48,162|
|31 May 1997||Stade Toulousain||12–6||CS Bourgoin-Jallieu||Parc des Princes, Paris||44,000|
|16 May 1998||Stade Français||34–7||USA Perpignan||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||78,000|
|29 May 1999||Stade Toulousain||15–11||AS Montferrand||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||78,000|
|15 July 2000||Stade Français||28–23||US Colomiers||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||45,000|
|9 June 2001||Stade Toulousain||34–22||AS Montferrand||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||78,000|
|8 June 2002||Biarritz Olympique||25–22 a.e.t.||SU Agen||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||78,457|
|7 June 2003||Stade Français||32–18||Stade Toulousain||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||78,000|
|26 June 2004||Stade Français||38–20||USA Perpignan||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||79,722|
|11 June 2005||Biarritz Olympique||37–34 a.e.t.||Stade Français||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||79,475|
|10 June 2006||Biarritz Olympique||40–13||Stade Toulousain||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||79,474|
|9 June 2007||Stade Français||23–18||ASM Clermont Auvergne||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||79,654|
|28 June 2008||Stade Toulousain||26–20||ASM Clermont Auvergne||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||79,275|
|6 June 2009||USA Perpignan||22–13||ASM Clermont Auvergne||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||79,205|
|29 May 2010||ASM Clermont Auvergne||19–6||USA Perpignan||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||79,262|
|4 June 2011||Stade Toulousain||15–10||Montpellier Hérault Rugby||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||77,000|
|9 June 2012||Stade Toulousain||18–12||RC Toulon||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||79,612|
|1 June 2013||Castres Olympique||19–14||RC Toulon||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||80,033|
|31 May 2014||RC Toulon||18–10||Castres Olympique||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||80,174|
|13 June 2015||Stade Français||12–6||ASM Clermont Auvergne||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||79,000|
|24 June 2016||Racing 92||29–21||RC Toulon||Camp Nou, Barcelona||99,124|
|4 June 2017||ASM Clermont Auvergne||22–16||RC Toulon||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||79,771|
|2 June 2018||Castres Olympique||29–13||Montpellier Hérault Rugby||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||78,441|
|15 June 2019||Stade Toulousain||24–18||ASM Clermont Auvergne||Stade de France, Saint-Denis||79,786|
|1||Nîmes, Béziers, Clermont, Montpellier, Lyon||1998–2017||387|
|5||Béziers, Toulouse, Racing 92||2002–2018||315|
|6||Toulouse, La Rochelle||2001–2018||309|
|7||Narbonne, Toulouse, Bordeaux Bègles||2001–2018||303|
|8||Bourgoin-Jallieu, Clermont, Pau||2003–2018||294|
|9||Colomiers, Stade Français||2001–||288|
|1||Dax, Stade Français, Béziers, Bordeaux Bègles, Castres, Bayonne||1996–2008||3,040|
|3||Clermont, La Rochelle, Bordeaux Bègles||2004–||2,447|
|5||Pau, Stade Français, Toulouse, Bordeaux Bègles, Lyon||2003–||1,931|
|6||Colomiers, Stade Français, Toulouse, Clermont||1997–2013||1,967|
|7||Castres, Racing 92, Grenoble, Toulon, Lyon||2006–||1,944|
|9||Bourgoin-Jallieu, Racing 92, Brive, Grenoble||2010–||1,756|
|1||Grenoble, Toulouse, Toulon||2002–2018||101|
|2||Pau, Castres, Montpellier, Perpignan||1991–2007||100|
|7||Colomiers, Stade Français||2001–||76|
|9||Castres, Racing 92, La Rochelle||2005–||60|
Association Sportive Montferrandaise Clermont Auvergne is a French rugby union club from Clermont-Ferrand in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes that currently competes in Top 14, the top level of the French league system. Clermont are two times French champions in 2009-10 and 2016-17. The rugby section is a part of a multi-sport club called AS Montferrand, which was founded in 1911 and adopted that name in 1919. Although the rugby section changed its name to the current ASM Clermont Auvergne in 2004, it is still frequently referred to as Montferrand both within and outside France.
Rugby union in France is a popular team sport. Rugby union was first introduced in the early 1870s by British residents. Elite French clubs participate in the professional domestic club league, the Top 14. Clubs also compete in the European knock-out competition, the European Rugby Champions Cup, which replaced the Heineken Cup from 2014–15.
Fabien Galthié is a French rugby union coach and former player, currently head coach of Toulon. His usual position was at scrum-half. He played much of his club rugby for Colomiers, and later on in his career, Stade Français. Galthié won 64 caps for France, including four Rugby World Cup appearances, as well as captaining the side at the 2003 World Cup. Former France national coach Bernard Laporte has described him as the greatest scrum-half in French history. He was the IRB International Player of the Year in 2002.
The 2006–07 Top 14 competition was the 108th French domestic rugby union club competition operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) and the 2nd using the name Top 14. Biarritz were out to defend their crown, after their defeat of Toulouse in the 2005-06 Top 14 final. New teams to the league included Albi and Montauban who were promoted from 2004–05 Pro D2, replacing relegated sides Toulon and Pau. During the season attendance records in the league were once again broken with 79,741 attending the Round 19 clash between Stade Français and Toulouse at the Stade de France, and over 2 million supporters attended games across the campaign.
The 2007-08 Top 14 Competition was a French domestic rugby union club competition, operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). Because France hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the competition did not begin at its normal time of August, but instead started on the last weekend in October 2007, one week after the Rugby World Cup final. The league compensated for the late start by playing on several weekends that it normally skips, namely the weekends of the 2008 Six Nations Championship and the semifinals and final of the 2007-08 Heineken Cup. The season ended on June 28, 2008, with Toulouse defeating regular-season league leader Clermont 26–20 in the final and thereby lifting the Bouclier de Brennus.
The 2008–09 Top 14 Competition was a French domestic rugby union club competition operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). It ran from late August 2008 through the final at Stade de France on June 6, 2009, in which Perpignan lifted the Bouclier de Brennus with a 22–13 win over Clermont.
The 2009–10 Top 14 competition was a French domestic rugby union club competition operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). It began on August 14, 2009 with a match between Toulon and Stade Français at Stade Mayol in Toulon, and continued through to the final at the Stade de France on May 29, 2010.
The 2010–11 Top 14 competition was a French domestic rugby union club competition operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). Home-and-away play began on August 13, 2010 and continued through April 2011. The regular season was followed by a three-round playoff starting in May that involved the top six teams, culminating in the final on June 4 at Stade de France. Toulouse won the Bouclier de Brennus for the 18th time, defeating Montpellier 15–10.
The 2011–12 Top 14 competition was a French domestic rugby union club competition operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). Home-and-away play began on August 26, 2011. Two new teams from the 2010–11 Rugby Pro D2 season were promoted to Top 14 this year, Lyon and Bordeaux Bègles in place of the two relegated teams, La Rochelle and Bourgoin.
The 2012–13 Top 14 competition was a French domestic rugby union club competition operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). Two new teams from the 2011–12 Pro D2 season were promoted to Top 14 this year, Grenoble and Stade Montois in place of the two relegated teams, CA Brive and Lyon OU. Home-and-away play began on 17 August 2012 and continued through to 5 May 2013. The regular season was followed by a three-round playoff involving the top six sides. The final was contested at the Stade de France between Toulon and Castres; the match was won 19–14 by Castres to earn them their first title since the controversial final in 1993.
The 2013–14 Top 14 competition is a French domestic rugby union club competition operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). Two new teams from the 2012–13 Pro D2 season were promoted to Top 14 this year, Oyonnax and Brive in place of the two relegated teams, Agen and Mont-de-Marsan. Home-and-away play began on 16 August 2013 and continued through to 3 May 2014.
The European Rugby Champions Cup is an annual rugby union tournament organised by European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR). It is the top-tier competition for clubs whose countries' national teams compete in the Six Nations Championship. Clubs qualify for the Heineken Champions Cup via their final positions in their respective national/regional leagues or via winning the second-tier Challenge Cup; those who do not qualify are instead eligible to compete in the second-tier Challenge Cup.
The 2015–16 Top 14 competition was a French domestic rugby union club competition operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). Two new teams from the 2014–15 Pro D2 season were promoted to Top 14 this year, Agen and Pau in place of the two relegated teams, Bayonne and Lyon. Home-and-away play began on 22 August 2015 and ended on 23 May 2016. This was followed by a playoff stage involving the top six teams, culminating in the final on 24 June 2016 at the Camp Nou in Barcelona, Spain. The final was moved from its traditional site of the Stade de France in Saint-Denis because of a scheduling conflict with UEFA Euro 2016.
The 2016–17 Top 14 competition was the 118th French domestic rugby union club competition operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). Two new teams from the 2015–16 Pro D2 season were promoted to Top 14 this year, Bayonne and Lyon in place of the two relegated teams, Agen and Oyonnax. It marked the first time that both promoted teams had returned on their first opportunity after relegation.
The 2017–18 Top 14 competition is the 119th French domestic rugby union club competition operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). Two new teams from the 2016–17 Pro D2 season were promoted to Top 14 in place of the two relegated teams, Grenoble and Bayonne. It marks the second time in a row that both promoted teams had returned on their first opportunity after relegation.
The 2018–19 Top 14 competition was the 120th season of the French domestic rugby union club competition operated by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). Two new teams from the 2017–18 Pro D2 season were promoted to Top 14 in place of the two relegated teams, Oyonnax and Brive.