Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Friday, August 22, 2008

The international flavour of the Top 14 2008/2009

A little over seven weeks since Toulouse were victorious against Clermont in the final, it's time for the Top 14 to take centre stage yet again, as France’s top domestic rugby competition kicks off this Tuesday. With the world sitting up and taking notice after a few surprise signings, this Top 14 season will have some of the biggest names in rugby on display and it is their progress that will capture the attention of fans the world over.

We take a look at a few of the big name players who will be plying their trade in France this year. From Marshall to Masoe, Goode to Gasnier, the Top 14 is starting to look akin to soccer's English Premier League, with most of the top teams splattered with international talent and star quality.

Possibly the biggest talk has been centred around newly promoted big spenders Toulon, who secured the services of Jerry Collins not too long ago, and then more recently can boast rugby league star Sonny Bill Williams on their teamsheet. Those two players alone will create a huge deal of hype and have all eyes on Toulon this season.

Daniel Carter surprised all when he chose Perpignan over Tana Umaga coached Toulon, but has been forthright about his reasons for spending his sabbatical with the catalan side, citing playing in the Heineken Cup as his main motivation. Chris Cusiter of Scotland, and Henry Tuilagi of Samoa will be there by his side as he makes the transition into European rugby.

In terms of the title, Toulouse will be favourites once again, and with Frederic Michalak returning from South Africa, as well as David Skrela moving over from Stade Francais, perhaps their biggest challenge will be finding their starting fifteen in a side that has talent in abundance.

Last season’s finalists Clermont, with all the running power of Rougerie and Nalaga on the wings, will be looking to have another strong season, and will be as determined as ever to get over that final hurdle this time around.

Argentinean class will be on display at Stade Francais, as Hernandez, Corleto, and now Leguizamon, will be aiming to get the team from Paris up to the top once again. Throw in league star Mark Gasnier, and the side now coached by Australian Ewen McKenzie will be one to watch yet again.

A few other notable mentions are Chris Masoe who has gone to Castres, Justin Marshall who left Ospreys to play at Montpelier, former Leicester pivot Andy Goode who will be at Brive, and Wallaby Rodney Blake who will be scrumming down with Bayonne. There's a smattering of South Africans spread right the way across France, but since John Smit has left Clermont and Victor Matfield has left Toulon, there aren't any household names that come to mind.

There are of course other top players who we may have missed mentioning, particularly the locals, but this video is simply to give you an idea of what's coming up in the Top 14, and why we’ll be doing what we can to bring you coverage of all the stars in action throughout the season, starting this Tuesday.

Time: 03:38
Follow the Flow by Epik High



  • "Top 14 is starting to look akin to the English Premiership"??????????!!! Do you really think that the English Premiership was a stronger championship than the Top14 until this year???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 12:53 pm  

  • awwww I wish Marshall stayed at Ospreys.

    He is beast!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 1:02 pm  

  • English Premier League you douche Anonymous. Football, where there's players from all over the world playing.

    By Anonymous Benson, at August 22, 2008 1:14 pm  

  • certainly some big names running around on top 14 pitches next year. might have to pay some more attention to what the french are up to :P

    By Blogger sebastian, at August 22, 2008 1:33 pm  

  • oops...My bad!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 2:03 pm  

  • lol stupid anonymous, really wish you wern't allowed to post as anonymous as that tool would get so flammed.

    By Anonymous chris ash, syd Aust, at August 22, 2008 2:05 pm  

  • top 14 is looking really really good, even tho im english its nice to see top players in the world scattered around rather than all in one league (like in soccer).

    anyone know the artist or name of the song btw ?


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 2:08 pm  

  • message to french fans: on what channel can i get the top 14 matches?? thank you

    sur quelle poste je sais capté le top 14? Merci

    By Anonymous dr spa, at August 22, 2008 2:09 pm  

  • Dr Spa: If you live in France, on Canal +.

    If you don't live in France, i think that Eurosport and Eurosport 2 broadcats it

    By Anonymous JB, at August 22, 2008 2:35 pm  

  • Im curious to see the performance of Ngwenya at Biarritz. Hopefully he'll get the chance to show some magic.
    Clerc was injured severly and if Im right he wont be back for the first half, which is a shame because he can create magic with Heymans (and Rougerie for the French XV).
    But Im rooting for Clermont this year, Rougerie and his lads deserve a trophy after all the times they lost in the final. Yet it'll be even harder than last year if I judge it correctly.

    P.S. In Holland (and probably the rest of Europe) Eurosport2 broadcasts a match every Friday evening. Which blows because Im training that evening at my own club -.-'

    By Anonymous Sea-Bass, at August 22, 2008 2:47 pm  

  • Yeah it's good for top14 but the young french talent can't play in club because a 'star' take the place. So the French team can't be in progress.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 3:12 pm  

  • What a league!...I gotta start watchin that

    By Anonymous TheFullback, at August 22, 2008 3:20 pm  

  • to the post 2 posts above me, the introduction of the stars wont blot out the young french talent. its something that they can learn from. i think french rugby will benfit alot from all of this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 3:55 pm  

  • can u watch top 14 on euro sport ?

    By Anonymous el nino, at August 22, 2008 5:18 pm  

  • I'm looking forward to seeing Marshall against Kelleher when Montpelier play Toulouse.

    In terms of TV, as mentioned before, Canal + in France, Eurosport 2 in Europe, and Supersport in SA (Eurosport's feed).
    And RD for clips I'm sure :)

    By Anonymous Shaft, at August 22, 2008 5:51 pm  

  • I can't wait..
    I think that this season of TOP 14 will be the strongest i ever seen

    My favorites: Toulouse because of their backs; Clermont have to take their revenge; Toulon have an incredible armada

    Stade français, perpignan, biarritz and Brive are my outsiders

    Top 14 matches can be watched on CANAL+, Eurosport
    H CUP on FRANCE 2 or 3

    By Anonymous Flo, at August 22, 2008 6:42 pm  

  • phenominal stuff. It also really says a lot about the french rugby that they keep producing so many quality french players (szarzewski, milo-chulsky, malzieu, trinh-duc, medard, parra, picamoles, floch ect) in a competition with so much experienced foreign talant

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 7:41 pm  

  • 3 Welsh guys at Brive, 2 joined this season Barry Davies, Alix Popham & Liam Davies. Liam Davies will hopefully develop into a top class scrum-half by Brive for Wales by the time he comes back.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 7:59 pm  

  • Anybody else think Clermont are crazy for not starting Delasau much last season and letting him leave? i know Nalaga and Rougerie are younger and are very good players, but Delasau clearly showed he still has it in him when he demolished Wasps, i dont get why you would let a quality player with Caucau like abilities go!
    If Toulon dont finish well they deserve to be disbanded as a team, the amount of talent they have in their side is unreal, if only Carter went there instead of Perpignan, home of the boring rugby....

    By Anonymous caucau's no.1 fan, at August 22, 2008 8:17 pm  

  • I know nobody cares this but it's "CORLETO" instead of CORLETTO"
    Daniel Carter is going to Perpignan?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 22, 2008 8:38 pm  

  • damn nothern hemishpere takeing all of good all southern hemishpere's players

    By Anonymous Chazza, at August 23, 2008 1:18 am  

  • It promisses to be one hell of a season, luckily we get the top match of the S14 each week here in argentina

    By Anonymous Eric, at August 23, 2008 3:42 am  

  • excellent, can't wait for this. My first full season in france so i'm going to try and get along to as many games as possible

    it'll be interesting to see how they gel come the Heni Cup time.

    Oh, and finally a video without emo rock... that makes me turn my sound off. :D

    By Anonymous goodNumber10, at August 23, 2008 10:04 am  

  • i lol at the clip showing Laqizamon or however you spell it, because its just shows you how well he plays on the pitch, you have all the other clips with the player scoring or doing something you would want being done. rofl

    By Anonymous HwA, at August 23, 2008 10:43 am  

  • yeah, go paris!!!

    By Anonymous bD, at August 23, 2008 2:17 pm  

  • My favorites for this year are Toulouse, like every season since their first H Cup title, and Montauban, not for the title, but I just love watching them play, they just play true rugby, they do it with their heart and that's what I love. Plus they have Delasau now, I hope they'll make a little surprise in the H Cup ;)

    By Anonymous Ben, at August 23, 2008 2:34 pm  

  • this could be a major mistake for the french just look at the state of english football obviously the first choice french xv will be playing week in week out but if someone gets injured they will have very little strength in depth

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 23, 2008 7:15 pm  

  • Two things, one, GREAT video, love the way it goes 'Pez' followed by clip of what he can do, 'Kelleher' followed by clip of what he can do, goes to Carter and its like... you know what's going to happen..

    Secondly, can french clubs loan players? Say, loan a young player to Div 2 and give him plenty of game time as opposed to benching for the 1sts?

    By Anonymous george, at August 23, 2008 7:29 pm  

  • RD hav u 4goten bout big joe van niekerk..he gone to toulon..i thk he gna b great playing ther

    By Anonymous Alain, at August 24, 2008 7:28 pm  

  • Alain, you're correct, I forgot about him, thanks. If he stays injury free (difficult for Joe), then he could do really well alongside Jerry Collins. One to watch for sure.

    By Blogger RD, at August 24, 2008 8:42 pm  

  • Does anybody archive the French league so US residents can watch them? I'm used to watching all the southern hemisphere stuff on Rugby Channel, but I can't find French anywhere...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 24, 2008 11:48 pm  

  • Does anyone know why Percy Montgomery left Perpignan?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 25, 2008 4:18 am  

  • Montgomery indeed left, going to play for the Stormers I believe. Never really convincing, and too expensive to hold for a team that's bringing Dan Carter in.
    I also hope that Marshall coming to Montpellier won't block Julien Tomas too much, and bring him som good experience.

    By Blogger julien, at August 25, 2008 9:32 am  

  • Last season, they showed all French rugby action on S4C (Welsh channel) on a show called "Le Rygbi" on a Sunday or Monday night. I really hope they do the same again this season

    By Anonymous Matthew, at August 25, 2008 9:46 pm  

  • hopefully the top 14 is as good as it looks this year
    although looking at the comments comparing it the the barclays premiership, it does look as if most of the worlds best players will end up here at some point in their careers
    also, am i the only one who hopes toulon will fail miserably after attempting (and partly succeeding) in buying success?

    By Anonymous James, at August 26, 2008 12:13 am  

  • James,

    I must comment on what you say about Toulon. It's an old rugby tradition town, has a very good rugby school (where do you think Dominici, Callifano, Emmanuelli... and a lot more come from ?). Problem is now in France (no salary cap) if you want to be amongst the 5/6 best teams, no way you can attract French players already in Toulouse, Clermont, Paris...

    Toulon is growing up its future team (and they have a lot of young players in French -19 and -20) and trying to become competitive NOW with foreign players. Umaga is growing the "green ones", melting them with great foreigners. Could become interesting...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 26, 2008 5:36 pm  

  • French coachs don't wan't Top 14 to become like Engligh Prmeiership, where no English player ever plays more than 10 minutes a game except for maybe Rooney.
    What is for certain is that the youngsters will learn alot playing alongside these huge stars

    By Anonymous Le Rygbi, at August 27, 2008 8:04 am  

  • Go Toulouse!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 27, 2008 4:03 pm  

  • is there anyway to watch top 14 games online. is there a site like media zone for it?? i dont want to miss out on this season

    By Anonymous jamess, at August 28, 2008 4:11 pm  

  • player.eurosport.com - only if you're in Europe though, and it's not free.

    By Anonymous WheresMyCommision, at August 28, 2008 6:58 pm  

  • If the young french talent are good enough to play internationally, they will be good enough to force their way into their club's 1XV first. THe way I see it (correct me if I'm wrong) there are usually only a couple of foreign players in the team anyway>

    By Anonymous Silly Baggers, at September 02, 2008 11:09 am  

  • Nice soundtrack!

    By Blogger Don, at September 15, 2008 5:31 am  

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