Parisienne Walkouts

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content on 15 Mar 2017 at 12:25
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“I remember Paris in ’16…. two strong clubs taking to fields of green.” Something like that, anyway.

So now that I have poor Gary Moore properly a-spin in his final resting place, I wanted to take a minute to talk about the crisis currently unfolding in French rugby. Most of you will have heard the news that started to break earlier in the week about a proposed merger between the capital’s two Top 14 clubs, Racing 92 and Stade Francais.

A lot has been written about this already, even if real facts are thin on the ground. It’s rumoured that ongoing financial woes at the latter club, renowned for their avant-garde pink playing strip, have led to takeover rumours from abroad. The deal to see the clubs merge is understood to be little more than a local takeover from their closest rivals, in the somewhat naive hopes of consolidating costs and support base. Kind of like thinking you could successfully merge Liverpool Football Club with Everton and expect all the fans to be onside, if you think about it.

Now, with all of the financial and political nonsense going on at boardroom levels, my thoughts immediately go out to players and coaches at both clubs; logic dictates that at least half of these people will imminently lose their jobs if the merger goes ahead. While it must be a terrible time for all of them, foremost in my thoughts are those South African – and particularly former Sharks – players who find themselves caught up in this mess. Breaking news would suggest that the Stade Francais player corps – including Craig Burden, Heinke van der Merwe, Gerhard Mostert, Willem Alberts and Meyer Bosman, former Sharks players all – have voted this morning to go on strike indefinitely in opposition to the merger. On the Racing roster we have just Sean Robinson from our former ranks.

I’d like to extend our very best wishes to all of these players in the hope that this situation is quickly resolved in such a way that no livelihoods and careers are put at risk. Bon courage à tous!


  • How about making a move for Burden to come back?

    The whole situation is not good. A lot of noise in the media about focusing on youth and players meeting selection criteria for France. Good luck all

  • Comment 1, posted at 15.03.17 12:32:06 by Kabouter Reply
  • @Kabouter (Comment 1) : I’d love Craig back

  • Comment 2, posted at 15.03.17 12:34:06 by robdylan Reply
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  • Eish…

  • Comment 3, posted at 15.03.17 12:38:11 by pastorshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Administrator
  • I’m sure Craig Burden and Gerhard Mostert will add nicely to our stock. 😈

    But yes goodluck and hope it gets resolved asap.

  • Comment 4, posted at 15.03.17 12:40:12 by Farlington Reply

  • I’m guessing there’s legal precedent for invalidating a player’s contract as the result of a merger? Otherwise I have to profess that I don’t understand the reasons for the player strike.

  • Comment 5, posted at 15.03.17 12:44:50 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : Wishful thinking I know, however, if old Doc Louw is still involved with the Sharks but he is close family friends with the Burdens, hopefully some positive nepotism will play a role.

  • Comment 6, posted at 15.03.17 13:30:19 by durbsguy Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : @durbsguy (Comment 6) : Burden could really play his way into Bok role if he was playing local. based onthose World Xv games he even outshone Bissy

  • Comment 7, posted at 15.03.17 13:58:02 by Kabouter Reply

  • What is the general financial state of French Rugby?

  • Comment 8, posted at 15.03.17 13:59:55 by Salmonoid the Subtle Reply
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    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : Too bad steyn and kockott not part of that scene. I would have liked them back as well. But yes Burden would definitely be a coup, if such a thing we’re possible.

  • Comment 9, posted at 15.03.17 17:44:07 by coolfusion Reply

  • OK here’s my 2 cents:
    Looking at the 2 teams players almost 50% of players are not French (Stade 17 non French 20 French, Racing 17 non French 25 French). To be competitive in the Top 14 (and other French competitions) teams needs to procure more and more “quality” players from abroad. This just adds to the already huge player wages.
    Private owners. Great to get more money for the team. That is until they decide the expense is not worth it so they will try other avenues to make running the club profitable (including merging with the “enemy”) as there main aim is profit not rugby.
    Comparing the French and the Irish club systems the French clubs seems stronger as unlike the Irish who limits the non Irish players they’re seemingly only limited by the size of the owners wallets. Now looking at the national teams Ireland is about 4 positions above France. This for me is a direct result of the Irish decision to limit non Irish players in their local rugby as clubs are forced to invest in local players vs France where seemingly investment is more towards top quality players irrespective from where they are from.
    Personally I think it was just a matter of time before this happened and don’t be to shocked if it happens to other clubs as well!

  • Comment 10, posted at 15.03.17 20:27:17 by JD Reply
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  • @JD (Comment 10) : You make a pint that interests me. Private owners. A while back many of us listed this as an option to saving bok and sa franchises. It would be interesting to chat about how that setup could also have negative effects. Like merging clubs, if they’ve privately owned or through corporations who is to stop such things and will such things always be in the interest of the franchise or union or of profitability.

  • Comment 11, posted at 16.03.17 06:13:54 by coolfusion Reply

  • @coolfusion (Comment 11) : my main concern regarding private owners is that a rugby team must be profitable to better rugby (not only of the team but also in the community) and not for the enrichment of the owners.
    I know that might be an amateur view and not in line with the new professional era but that’s how I feel about it.

  • Comment 12, posted at 16.03.17 18:26:11 by JD Reply
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  • Merging seems to be a terrible idea.

    If the market in Paris is too small for two teams, one should consider moving to another city.

  • Comment 13, posted at 16.03.17 23:19:22 by fyndraai Reply
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