The Top 14 is a professional rugby union club competition, 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 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 known as the Top 16; the first 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 19 titles; 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 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, led to Stade Bordelais winning the final that season, played outside of Paris, in Le Bouscat. For the following decade the championship game would end up being contested by the Racing Club, Stade Français and Stade Bordelais, with Stade Bordelais winning five titles during this period. During this time the final was 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 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.
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 young boys who had not yet been drafted; the competition was held four times, but is not considered a full championship. The normal competition returned for the 1920 season, 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. USA Perpignan would win two championships. During the 1930s the championship game was held only in Toulouse; the 1930 championship game, won by Agen over US Quillan, was the first final to go into extra time. It would 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, Biarritz Olympique were champions in both 1935 and 1939. After the war the championship final returned to Paris, 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, again in 1950. FC Lourdes would become a dominant club during the 1950s, winning five championships, another in 1960. SU Agen would go on to win three titles during the 1960s as well. Lourdes were 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, 9–9 after extra-time. Lourdes were declared champions because they had scored two tries to Toulon's none and 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. In the mid 1970s, after being held in Toulouse 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, Agen won in 1988; 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 and Toulouse would win the following finals; the 1990s saw the game of rugby union go professional following the 1995 Rugby World Cup in South Africa. This 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, nu
Rugby league football is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field. One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players, its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators. In rugby league, points are scored by carrying the ball and touching it to the ground beyond the opposing team's goal line; the opposing team attempts to stop the attacking side scoring points by tackling the player carrying the ball. In addition to tries, points can be scored by kicking goals. After each try, the scoring team gains a free kick to try at goal with a conversion for further points. Kicks at goal may be awarded for penalties, field goals can be attempted at any time. Rugby league is the national sport of Papua New Guinea, is a popular sport in Northern England, the states of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia, South Auckland in New Zealand, southwest France and Lebanon.
The Super League and the National Rugby League are the premier club competitions. Rugby league is played internationally, predominantly by European and Pacific Island countries, is governed by the Rugby League International Federation; the first Rugby League World Cup was held in France in 1954. Rugby league football takes its name from the bodies that split to create a new form of rugby, distinct from that run by the Rugby Football Unions, in Britain and New Zealand between 1895 and 1908; the first of these, the Northern Rugby Football Union, was established in 1895 as a breakaway faction of England's Rugby Football Union. Both organisations played the game under the same rules at first, although the Northern Union began to modify rules immediately, thus creating a new faster, stronger paced form of rugby football. Similar breakaway factions split from RFU-affiliated unions in Australia and New Zealand in 1907 and 1908, renaming themselves "rugby football leagues" and introducing Northern Union rules.
In 1922, the Northern Union changed its name to the Rugby Football League and thus over time the sport itself became known as "rugby league" football. In 1895, a schism in Rugby football resulted in the formation of the Northern Rugby Football Union. Although many factors played a part in the split, including the success of working class northern teams, the main division was caused by the RFU decision to enforce the amateur principle of the sport, preventing "broken time payments" to players who had taken time off work to play rugby. Northern teams had more working class players who could not afford to play without this compensation, in contrast to affluent southern teams who had other sources of income to sustain the amateur principle. In 1895, a decree by the RFU banning the playing of rugby at grounds where entrance fees were charged led to twenty-two clubs meeting at the George Hotel, Huddersfield on 29 August 1895 and forming the "Northern Rugby Football Union". Within fifteen years of that first meeting in Huddersfield, more than 200 RFU clubs had left to join the rugby revolution.
In 1897, the line-out was in 1898 professionalism introduced. In 1906, the Northern Union changed its rules, reducing teams from 15 to 13 a side and replacing the ruck formed after every tackle with the play the ball. A similar schism to that which occurred in England took place in Australia. There, on 8 August 1907 the New South Wales Rugby Football League was founded at Bateman's Hotel in George Street. Rugby league went on to displace rugby union as the primary football code in New South Wales and Queensland. On 5 May 1954 over 100,000 spectators watched the 1953–54 Challenge Cup Final at Odsal Stadium, England, setting a new record for attendance at a rugby football match of either code. In 1954 the Rugby League World Cup, the first for either code of rugby, was formed at the instigation of the French. In 1966, the International Board introduced a rule that a team in possession was allowed three play-the-balls and on the fourth tackle a scrum was to be formed; this was increased to six tackles in 1972 and in 1983 the scrum was replaced by a handover.
1967 saw. The first sponsors, Joshua Tetley and John Player, entered the game for the 1971–72 Northern Rugby Football League season. Television would have an enormous impact on the sport of rugby league in the 1990s when Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation sought worldwide broadcasting rights and refused to take no for an answer; the media giant's "Super League" movement saw big changes for the traditional administrators of the game. In Europe, it resulted in a move from a winter sport to a summer one as the new Super League competition tried to expand its market. In Australasia, the Super League war resulted in long and costly legal battles and changing loyalties, causing significant damage to the code in an competitive sporting market. In 1997 two competitions were run alongside each other in Australia, after which a peace deal in the form of the National Rugby League was formed; the NRL has since become recognised as the sport's flagship competition and since that time has set record TV ratings and crowd figures.
The objective in rugby league is to score more points through tries and field goals than the opposition within the 80 minutes of play. If after two halves of play, each consisting of forty minutes, the two teams are drawing, a draw may be declar
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Aurélien Cologni is a rugby league coach for the France national rugby league team and a former player for the Lezignan Sangliers club in France's Elite One Championship. He is a former French international. Lezignan Sangliers profile SL stats
Jamal Fakir is a Moroccan rugby league footballer who plays as a prop or second-row for the Lezignan Sangliers club in the Elite One Championship. Fakir was born in Morocco, he is Moroccan-French. Fakir caught the attention of Super League and French rugby union sides before the Dragons' entry into Super League in 2006. After a strong debut season in Super League, Fakir's progress has been hampered by two serious knee injuries, firstly a ruptured patella tendon sustained in late 2006, cruciate ligament damage sustained in May 2007 which ended his season. Fakir was named in the France training squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, he was named in the France squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. Fakir became a Moroccan international in 2009, he agreed to switch codes in May 2010 to play rugby union, intended to join Castres Olympique on a one-year deal at the beginning of the 2010/2011 season. In addition to his deal with Castres he had interest from Scottish club Glasgow Warriors. Fakir however reversed his decision and decided to stay with the Catalans for a further three seasons.
Capped for France against New Zealand in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup group play round 2, coming off the bench to make an impact in the loss. On 3 April 2014, Fakir signed for Super League team Bradford Bulls, he played in the 2014 European Cup. Super League profile Rugby League Project stats Fakir signs new Dragons deal
Blake Leary is an Australian professional rugby league footballer who plays for the Lezignan Sangliers in the Elite One Championship. He plays at lock and second-row, but can fill in at hooker. Lear was born in Mona Vale, New South Wales and moved to the Gold Coast, Queensland at the age of one, he played his junior football for the Nerang Roosters and attended Keebra Park State High School, before being signed by the Melbourne Storm in 2009. As a youngster, Leary played for the Queensland Under 18s team. In 2009 and 2010, Leary played for the Melbourne Storm's NYC team, scoring 17 tries, 5 goals and 1 field goal in 26 games, he captained the team in 2010. In 2011, Leary joined the North Queensland Cowboys, playing for their Queensland Cup team, Northern Pride RLFC. Shortly after being suspended in 2011, Leary injured his knee, requiring a knee reconstruction and missed the rest of the season. In 2012, he recovered from his knee reconstruction to train with the Cowboys first-grade squad. In Round 25 of the 2012 NRL season, Leary made his NRL debut for the Cowboys against the Newcastle Knights.
At the beginning of 2014, Leary was released by the Cowboys. In July 2014, Leary played for the Queensland Residents team. On 1 October 2014, Leary signed a 2-year contract with the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles starting in 2015. On 14 November 2016, Leary returned to north Queensland, signing with the Townsville Blackhawks after two seasons with Manly. Over the 2017 pre-season, Leary trained with the North Queensland Cowboys, he scored a try in the Cowboys' 11-10 trial win over the Sydney Roosters but did not earn an NRL contract with the club. In Round 6 of the 2017 NRL season, Leary was recalled by the Cowboys, coming off the bench against the Wests Tigers, he would play 3 games for the Cowboys starting at hooker in two of those games. In 2018, Leary returned to the Gold Coast. Manly Sea Eagles profile 2012 North Queensland Cowboys profile
Damian Cardace is a rugby league footballer who plays for Football Club de Lézignan in the French Elite One Championship. He played in the Super League for the Catalans Dragons, before being released in July 2015. In 2013, Cardace played for France in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, he played in 2015 European Cup. Castleford Tigers profile France profile 2017 RLWC profile