Former All Blacks star Ma'a Nonu is reportedly set to return to the United States in a move that will see him take up a surprise new role.
Watch France’s best rugby union teams collide in the Top 14, which is one of Europe’s three major rugby union leagues.
The Top 14 was created way back in 1892 and it’s the top division of the French national league system. It sits just above the Pro D2, and promotion and relegation occur between the two tiers.
The Top 14 league is home to France’s 14 best teams. However, the format of the tournament has changed multiple times over the years. For example, in the inaugural year of competition, only two teams took part. Similarly, for many years, 16 teams competed for the title and the competition was known as the Top 16.
The format of Top 14 rugby last changed in 2017-18, when the French National Rugby League tweaked the competition with the aim of improving the standard of French rugby in time for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
Now, every Top 14 team plays all of the others twice (once at home and once away) in a round-robin format. Following this, a knockout format is used to decide the winner of the tournament.
There are three phases to the knockout round. Firstly, the teams finishing from third to sixth play quarter-finals hosted by the third and fourth-placed teams. Then, the winners face the top two teams in the semi-finals, with the winners meeting in the final at the Stade de France.
At the end of the competition, the club that finishes bottom of the Top 14 is automatically relegated to Pro D2 and is replaced by the Pro D2 champion. The second-from-bottom team then enters a promotion/relegation play-off with the Pro D2 runner-up and the winner of this game takes a place in the Top 14 for the next season.
Teams that finish in the top six places of the Top 14 also represent France in the European Rugby Champions Cup. The other eight Top 14 teams then automatically qualify for the European Rugby Challenge Cup. This means all of the Top 14 teams represent France in European competitions.
In the history of Top 14 rugby, Toulouse have been the tournament’s most successful side. They’ve won the Top 14 on 20 occasions and they’ve finished as the tournament’s runners-up a further seven times. They’re followed by Stade Français (14 wins and 9 runners-up finishes) and AS Béziers (11 wins and 4 runners-up finishes).
Read on to learn even more about Top 14 rugby. On this page, you can see all the latest Top 14 results, read the latest news about the Top 14 teams and view upcoming Top 14 fixtures.
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