On Monday 13th March 2017, there came a bolt from the blue in French rugby.
That's right - Stade Francais and Racing 92 will combine from the beginning of the 2017-18 Top14 season to form one Parisian super club.
Whilst there has been no official announcement of the new name, let alone coaching and playing staff for the French side, we've decided to put together a bext XV team based on the current squads...
1. Rabah Slimani (Stade Francais, 34 caps for France)
2. Camille Chat (Racing 92, 7 caps for France)
3. Census Johnston (Racing 92 new signing for 2017/18, 56 caps for Samoa)
4. Pascal Pape (Stade Francais, 65 caps for France)
5. Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92, 39 caps for Fiji)
6. Willem Alberts (Stade Francais, 43 caps for South Africa)
7. Yannick Nyanga (Racing 92, 46 caps for France)
8. Sergio Parisse (Stade Francais, 124 caps for Italy)
9. Will Genia (Stade Francais, 75 caps for Australia)
10. Dan Carter (Racing 92, 112 caps for New Zealand)
11. Juan Imhoff (Racing 92, 35 caps for Argentina)
12. Jonathan Danty (Stade Francais, 4 caps for France)
13. Henry Chavancy(Racing 92, 1 cap for France)
14. Joe Rokocoko (Racing 92, 68 caps for New Zealand)
15. Brice Dulin (Racing 92, 26 caps for France)
Obviously there is still a lot of work to be done with the new side, and no doubt plenty of players to come and go. Whatever happens, it is a shock to see these two powerhouses of the French game merge to become one.
Racing/Stade will play their home games at the new 32,000 capacity Arena92 stadium in Nanterre, nearly 7 miles north-west of the centre of Paris.
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