Stade Français

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Stade Français Paris
Logo Stade français PR 2018.png
Full nameStade Français Paris
Nickname(s)"Pink Army", "Les Stadistes"
Founded1883; 135 years ago (1883)
Location9 allée Charles Brennus 75016, Paris, France
Ground(s)Stade Jean-Bouin
(Capacity: 15,500)
CEOFabien Grobon
Coach(es)South Africa Heyneke Meyer (headcoach)
France Pieter de Villiers
Republic of IrelandPaul O'Connell
Republic of IrelandMike Prendergast
England John McFarland
France Julien Dupuy
Captain(s)Sergio Parisse
League(s)Top 14
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

Stade Français CASG (French pronunciation: ​[stad fʁɑ̃sɛ]) is a French professional rugby union club based in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. The club plays in the Top 14 domestic league in France and is one of the most successful French clubs of the modern era.

Stade Français is a sport club founded in 1883 at the Café Procope in Boulevard Saint-Michel by students from the Lycée Saint-Louis in Paris. It was initially a club for sports in general, particularly running, but soon some of the students became interested in the rugby football played by British students in Paris, and rugby became the club's main sport. As Stade "Français" was created by students from an elite school, it was obviously not initially a popular club. At the time, students at French Lycées were largely of the upper middle class and aristocrats, as shown in the lists of players at the time (seven players with an aristocratic last name played in the first league final, four for Racing Club de France, three for Stade Français), which goes a long way to explaining the enthusiasm for a British sport, as at the time the French elites were given to imitating their cross-channel peers. Georges Pastre also attributes the students' interest to the fact that rugby "soon seemed to them to be the most intellectual of all sports".

The first matches were played against the British in Paris, and the latter attached the adjective "Français" to "Stade", chosen to pay homage to the athletes of antiquity. Stade even recruited several British players, including C. Heywood, a teacher at Lycée Buffon, who would be the fly-half and eventually captain of the team defeated by Racing Club de France in the first final, in 1892.

Stade was the first French club to take part in an international rugby match, in 1892 in London, against Rosslyn Park. On March 28th, 1894, Stade Français played the same Rosslyn Park side at Bécon-les-Bruyères, resulting in France's first victory at an international level, by the score of 9-8. The team captain for the encounter was Louis Dedet. In 1892, the Paris FC student club also hosted Rosslyn Park, but fell to defeat.

An illustration showing Stade Français (in dark blue jersey) playing Racing Club, 1906.

Between 1893 and 1908, the Stadistes were champions of France eight times. The club contested the league final in 1927, but would have to wait another 90 years before winning the national title once more. The club was relegated to the Second Division for the first time in 1947, immediately bouncing back only to be relegated again after the 1948-49 season, which saw them finish with one draw, nine defeats and no victories. They then toiled in the second and third divisions until the start of the 1990s.

A huge number of players in France's first international team came from Stade Français. Five took part in the first match played by the French national team, on January 1, 1906, against the All Blacks, with Stade's Henri Amand becoming the first captain in the history of the French squad. In total, over fifty Stadistes have worn the French jersey.

On August 10, 1960, during France's first international tournament in South America, the club played a friendly match against a national side (France A) in Santiago, Chile, losing 55–6.


In 1992, Stade Français was taken over by Max Guazzini, one of the founders of the radio station NRJ, where he was Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Programming. The die-hard rugby fan, a native of the South East of France and a jurist by training, decided to relaunch high-level club rugby in Paris at a time when the city was still suffering through the setbacks of Racing Club de France. The club was in the Second Division at the time. Guazzini injected cash, restructured the club and, in 1995, initiated the merger of Stade Français's rugby section with that of CASG Paris, then in Group B and the lease-holder of the stadium Stade Jean Bouin, which was owned by the city and for the last few years had been organising a tournament of the same name.

His first master stroke was to hire Bernard Laporte as coach, luring him away from Stade Bordelais. With him at the head, each year the club reached new heights: Group B in 1995, Group A2 in 1996, then Group A1 in the first division in 1997. In their very first season at the top level, Stade Français Paris were crowned Champions of France at the end of the first final played at the Stade de France, defeating USAP Perpignan in 1998.

They won five more national titles (2000, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2015), and were runners-up in three more finals: two in 2005 after extra time, one national, against Biarritz, the other European, against Stade Toulousain, and one more in the European Champions Cup (2001) — undoubtedly the club's Holy Grail — against Leicester.

The 2000 title was surrounded by odd circumstances. The players no longer saw eye to eye with then-coach Georges Coste; they staged a coup, with the resulting departure of the Catalan in May. For all intents and purposes without a coach, they nonetheless reached the final, even if Fabrice had taken the team's technical reins and Bernard Laporte later stated that he had guided the team at the behest of Max Guazzini.

Australian John Connolly, the future head coach of the Wallabies, took Stade to the European Champions Cup final in 2001. In 2002 he was replaced by the South African Nick Mallett, a former player with Saint-Claude and ACBB, who he had led to the First division, and a former coach of the Springboks, who he had guided to a record series of 17 consecutive victories in 1997 and 1998. Mallet led the club to two new national titles in a row, in 2003 and 2004. He was succeeded by the former captain of the French National Team and the club, Fabien Galthié. From the first year under his leadership as coach, Stade contested two more finals, in the European Champions Cup against Stade Toulousain (a defeat in extra time, 18-12) and in the League against Biarritz Olympique (a 37-34 loss, also after extra time). In 2005-06, the club was eliminated in the group round of the European Champions Cup, then fell to defeat to Toulouse in the semi-final of the Top 14 (12–9).

In 2007, after another disappointment in the European Champions Cup (a one-point defeat away to Leicester, the eventual tournament runners-up, in the quarter final), Stade claimed a title by winning the Top 14 against ASM Clermont Auvergne (23-18). Handicapped by injuries throughout the season (with as many as fifteen players side-lined at the same time), the Parisians overcame the odds to remain head of the league from the first match to the last, before beating Biarritz, two-time title-holders, in the semi-final, then a fully staffed Clermont, winners of the European Challenge Cup 15 days before. The final was a suspense-filled match which saw the lead change four times in the last quarter of an hour, with the decisive try scored three minutes before time by Stade's Radike Samo.

This thirteenth title would mark the end of an era for Stade. Many of their players, who had achieved near-legendary status in the last decade, retired from the sport (Pieter de Villiers, Christophe Dominici, David Auradou, Augustin Pichot, Mathieu Blin) or left the club (Fabien Galthié, Juan Martín Hernández, Sylvain Marconnet, Rémy Martin) during the next few seasons. While the club still managed to qualify for the semi-finals (both lost) in 2007/2008 and 2008/2009, the next four seasons were to prove disappointing, as the club never made it to the Top 14 play-offs. In 2011 and 2013, the Parisians nonetheless managed to qualify for the final of the European Challenge Cup and the European Champions Cup third-place match, losing both, 19-18 against Harlequins in 2011 and 34-13 against Leinster in 2013. After these difficult years, full of professional and financial struggles, the 2013-2014 season marked the beginning of Stade Français's return to the top, thanks to a policy of faith in youth that was finally bearing fruit, along with the decision to maintain continuity in the team. Symbolising the club's resurgence, Plisson, Bonneval, Slimani and Flanquart played their first matches for the French national team and the club finally showed it could rival the league's big guns, reaching the Top 14 play-off for the first time since 2009. Although leading the league after 18 matches, Paris was weakened by playing extra matches and lacked the bench depth of its opponents, leading to a very disappointing end to the season, finishing one point out of sixth place, the last qualifier for the play-offs.

But the players refused to suffer the same fate the following year, 2014/2015, and they finally reached the play-offs again, qualifying for the European Rugby Champions Cup. The year was also marked by the departure of two key players, with the scrum-half Jérôme Fillol and third row Pierre Rabadan (17 years with the club, including 14 as a professional). Stade Français defeated Racing Métro and Rugby Club Toulonnais (the top 14 champions and reigning three-time European champions) respectively in the play-off and semi-final, before ultimately winning the 14th Bouclier de Brennus in their history versus ASM Clermont Auvergne, just like in 2007.



When he became President, Max Guazzini knew that he had to get people talking about his club for it to develop in a city as anonymous as Paris, with so few rugby fans and so little attachment to any club. Little by little, through savvy media coups highlighting exceptional performance on the pitch, without which nothing would have been possible, the club developed and grew roots.

With the understanding that Parisians are reluctant to show loyalty, Max Guazzini first tried a new pricing approach in order to draw in regular spectators. In 1996, while Stade were still in the Group A2, he opened up Jean Bouin free of charge. 7,000 people attended matches against Lourdes and Valence-d’Agen. After that, women had free entry for some of the matches. At the time, he stated: "In Paris, no club has ever had so many spectators. Even when Racing were French Champions, or about to be. I'd rather have 7,000 happy punters in our stadium than 200 with a fistful of francs. It's a question of philosophy." "Île-de-France is where more than 20% of our rugby fans live, and I think it's abnormal that the stadiums are empty. It can't go on! ”.

At the same time as the question of prices, Max Guazzini envisaged the match as the main event in a family outing, and worked on activities before, during and after the matches: cheerleaders, music, jingles when points were scored, bells signalling the end of each half, a remote-controlled car bringing the tee to the kicker, the club's anthem, (I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor (long before it was adopted by the French national football team)), etc. A professional showman, he enrolled Mathilda May, Madonna and Naomi Campbell as sponsors. This strategy was openly aimed at women and families, and it worked, with the number of women and children attending the matches increasing. The Dieux du Stade (Gods of the Stadium) calendar, which had famous players posing nude for black-and-white photos, made the news when it first appeared in 2001. In a way, it symbolised the club's spirit, blending innovation, a touch of provocativeness and a dash of business.

Just like every major sport club, Stade Français Paris is also a company. The club thus promoted the Stade Français brand through a line of clothing and spin-off products of all sorts. Since 2005, the star of the collection has been the pink jersey, in a colour considered the opposite of rugby virility, somewhat disconcerting the rugby world in September 2005, when the club's first-team players donned it for a league match in Perpignan. Despite the on-pitch defeat, Stade Français had scored a phenomenal commercial success. 20,000 of the jerseys, manufactured by Adidas, were sold in 2005-2006. The following year, two new designs by Adidas were added: one of them pink, the other navy blue decorated with pink lilies (and not fleurs-de-lis, as in heraldry) (see photo). The lily design was added to a mobile phone case. The club's objective for 2006-2007 was to sell a total of 100,000 jerseys.

In response to criticism that he was perverting rugby with such "provocation" and against his insistence on communication, including to those who declared they were defending the traditional spirit of the sport, Guazzini replied that if rugby was to become a genuinely popular and national sport, it needed to look beyond its natural audience: "The communication campaign is not aimed at long-time fans. They're not the ones we're chatting up - it's the others. We need to get the attention of everyone who isn't familiar with rugby. Or only knows it a bit… Or not enough… So we need an outside perspective. [...] Rugby is no longer an amateur sport. [...] We have to be creative. (…) Preaching to the converted doesn't really work for me. ”Speaking of post-match reception, he took a swipe in passing at the keepers of the South West France flame: "The eternal temple, with its fanfare, foie gras and saucisson, is a bit outdated. We can't restrict ourselves to the culture of the South West, which doesn't represent all of France. ”.

Stade Français Paris tries pink (here Christophe Dominici in the foreground). Guazzini nonetheless remained attached to certain traditions. Thus, from his arrival in 1992, he required players to wear the club's official blazer and tie. "I won't tolerate any sloppiness. Rugby tradition is jacket-tie, and I think that's a good thing."» It took about ten years for the club to finally establish itself with fans. Almost all of Stade's home matches were sold out. Faced with the size limits of Stade Jean-Bouin (room for about 10,000 people), and still wishing to develop the club's popularity until they could find a new, bigger home, Guazzini set his sights higher. In April 2005, he wanted to play the quarter final match of the European Champions Cup, against Newcastle, at Parc des Princes, located across from Stade Jean-Bouin. It was a complete success: the match was sold out (about 48,000 attended).

Logically, therefore, Guazzini sought to repeat the success for a league match against Toulouse and a European Champions Cup match against Leicester in the autumn. But this time, the directors of Paris Saint-Germain were against the idea, fearing the rugby players would damage the pitch. Guazzini, annoyed and shocked by the lack of solidarity on the part of Stade Français's neighbours, stated that he would fill Stade de France. Using an aggressive sales strategy (half of the seats were available for €5 or 10, sponsors were actively approached) and effective communication, he did: on October 15th, 2005, Stade Français Paris beat the world attendance record for a regular season rugby union league match (79,502 spectators). He would repeat this feat three times: against Biarritz (March 4th, 2006, 79,604 spectators), then against Biarritz again (October 14th, 2006, 79,619 spectators) and finally against Toulouse (January 27th, 2007, 79,741 spectators).

In addition to the pricing policy, there was additional entertainment on display at Stade de France: thousands of blue and pink flags placed on the seats, famous singers and musicians (Les Tambours du Bronx October 15th, 2005, Michel Delpech January 27th, 2007), circus performers, giant karaoke, a parade of children from rugby schools in the Paris region (January 27th, 2007) each time the ball would arrive in a different and spectacular way, once in a chariot drawn by two horses (October 15th, 2005), once by Miss France 2006 emerging from a giant egg in the middle of the pitch (January 27th, 2007), dancers from the Moulin Rouge, wrestling bouts, the Gipsy Kings (May 13th, 2007), fireworks after the match, etc. Each match was an excuse to come up with new, original ideas.

Detractors observed that it isn't hard to fill Stade de France with such low ticket prices. Pierre Blayau, President of Paris Saint-Germain, which refused to loan out the Parc des Princes in 2005, stated: "I find their communication [...] a bit excessive. [...] I don't know how many people would have tried to buy tickets if we had sold them for a PSG-Lyon match at three, five or seven Euros. Maybe 400,000"7.

The new Paris Saint-Germain management nonetheless agreed to welcome Stade Français again, for a European Champions Cup match against the Sale Sharks, on December 10th, 2006 (44,112 spectators). And in the end, the European Champions Cup match against Leicester was played at Stade Charléty. Stade Roi-Baudouin in Brussels and Stade Félix-Bollaert in Lens had offered their services, but the Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoë, a close friend of Guazzini and one of the club's financial backers, vetoed the idea, stating that Stade Français was a Parisian club and therefore should play in Paris.

Since 2004-2005, Stade Français Paris played ten league matches outside of Jean-Bouin, including five times at Stade de France and four times at Parc des Princes, in addition to the 2010-2011 season, almost entirely played at Stade Charléty. Three more matches were to be played at Stade de France during the 2007-08 season against Clermont-Ferrand, Toulouse and Biarritz. Nonetheless, these gala matches could only be organised two or three times per year and couldn't hide what Max Guazzini considers to be Stade Français Paris's main problem: the absence of a real stadium entirely devoted to rugby, which was indispensable if the club was to develop in a serious way; a stadium capable of receiving the public with reasonably comfortable conditions was needed. For years, Guazzini canvassed the city of Paris with this goal in mind, asserting that the club risked dropping down to the Pro D2 again and threatening to resign if the city didn't agree. After repeated discussions and submissions, the planned new stadium was finally accepted by Paris City Hall on March 29th, 2010. The building permit was granted on May 12th and demolition of the former stadium began as soon as the 2009/2010 season came to an end. With a 20,000 seat capacity, the new Jean Bouin was inaugurated on August 30th, 2013, hosting a comfortable victory (38-3) over Biarritz Olympique.

In April 2011, the magazine Le 10 Sport announced that the owner, Max Guazzin, had put the club up for sale9. The club was suffering from serious financial difficulty, in particular due to the liquidation of Sportys, its advertising manager and minority shareholder.


Stade Français Paris keeping things lively at the new Jean-Bouin stadium (2014). At this time, Thomas Savare, Managing Director of the new shareholder, the Oberthur Fiduciaire group, took over as President of the club, replacing Max Guazzini. He invested 11 million Euros in the club, saying goodbye to Bernard Laporte and choosing the former third row of the Paris club, Richard Pool-Jones, as Vice-President. During the European campaign of the 2012-2013 season, Stade Français increased the number of matches it played elsewhere for the European Challenge Cup matches, playing at the Stade Océane in Le Havre, the MMArena in Le Mans and the Stade du Hainaut in Valenciennes. Furthermore, on March 30th, 2013, they played a league match against Toulon at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille.

The next few financial years saw Stade Français Paris remain in the red, leading its main shareholder to re-inject cash. This situation led to significant tension within the Oberthur Fiduciaire shareholding family. In September 2014, Thomas Savare sisters, Marie and Emmanuelle, who were also shareholders in the Oberthur Fiduciaire group and who opposed the investment, decided to publicise their opposition to the investment, which they considered economically pointless and a bottomless pit. For his part, Thomas Savare spoke of an "investment out of passion" and stated that he would continue to work towards the club becoming financially self-sufficient.


On Monday, March 13th, 2017, the club President, Thomas Savare, announced the planned merger of the club with its neighbour, Racing 92 for the 2017-2018 season13. The next day, the Stade Français players held a team meeting and decided to give provisional notice of a strike to last an undetermined period of time, in order to demand the cancellation of the merger. They refused to take part in either training or matches14. Faced with such strong opposition, the two Presidents decided to cancel the planned merger a few days later. On March 19th, Jacky Lorenzetti and Thomas Savare issued a press release in which each explained their decision.


On May 14th, 2017, Thomas Savare announced he had selected the Swiss entrepreneur, Hans-Peter Wild, to take charge of the French capital's club, and handed over the keys. Savare preferred the Swiss businessman's offer to that made by a group of former players and investors18. The founder of Capri-Sun, Dr Hans-Peter Wild was a big fan of both rugby and Paris, and he announced his desire to remain at the head of the Parisian club in the long term. He is seeking to develop the club both nationally and internationally. To do so, he appointed Hubert Patricot, the former President of the European division of Coca-Cola Enterprises, as club President, and Fabien Grobon as Managing Director.


As soon as the purchase of the club was complete, Dr. Wild asked Robert Mohr to lead the new re-build. From the middle of the 2017-2018 season, starting with the teams and players already in place or available on the transfer market, many changes were instituted: starting in April, the new sport project was developed around Heyneke Meyer, former manager of the South African national team. He initiated an influx of acknowledged technical skills (Pieter de Villiers, Mike Prendergast and Paul O'Connell, the Irish second row player who had earned 108 caps with the Irish team). He also reinforced the professional staff, with the arrival of new recruits for 2018-2019, including internationals Gaël Fickou, Yoann Maestri and Nicolás Sánchez.

Under the guidance of Pascal Papé, a former player with Stade Français Paris and former captain of the French national team, the club adopted a cross-team approach to youth and professional development (from 14 years of age to career change: a cross-club approach with the teams, feedback, long-term monitoring). Players' career development was re-analysed in the search for systematic performance, with more discipline and more expected on a daily basis[ref. needed]. Preparation for the 2018-2019 season marked a clear-cut change, especially in players' physical preparation and the implementation of a new game plan.


Another one of Dr. Hans-Peter Wild's priorities was to reposition the brand and redesign the club logo to mark the transition and open up a new chapter in the club's history. To crystallise the 135-year-old love story with Paris, Stade Français Paris added "Paris" to its crest, while keeping the shape. The colour pink was kept, as a symbol of the difference between the club and its creativity; the lightning bolts, representing the club's roots, were changed, and now symbolise dynamism and reconquest.

The new sport project and the new logo were both an homage to the club's prestigious past and a call for new ambition: the (R)evolution was presented at Stade Jean-Bouin on May 16th, 2018, the anniversary of the first Top 14 title win in the Guazzini era (in 1998, versus Perpignan). During the event, which brought together several thousand people, former Stade Français Paris players were honoured and the club's new goals for the coming 5 years were presented.



Stade Français traditionally plays in blue and red, and CASG Paris in sky blue and white or white and navy blue. After the merger of the rugby divisions of the two omni-sport clubs, the new club decided to adopt the colours of Stade Français, with a blue jersey and red shorts. In the 2000s, red lightning bolts were added to the blue jersey, eventually becoming one of the iconic symbols of the club. Later, Stade Français Paris abandoned the red for pink, playing in a navy blue kit with pink trimming, then with a pink jersey and blue shorts for home matches.

On May 16th, 2018, for the 20th anniversary of the first title of the professional era and as part of its presentation to the public of the (R)Evolution, a new logo was adopted.


Current standings[edit]

2018–19 Top 14 Table watch · edit · discuss
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Diff. Tries For Tries Against Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Clermont 10 7 1 2 334 174 160 39 15 5 2 37
2 Toulouse 10 7 1 2 240 202 38 29 24 2 1 33
3 Racing 10 7 0 3 267 196 71 33 18 2 1 30
4 La Rochelle 10 7 0 3 233 209 24 28 22 1 1 29
5 Stade Français 10 6 0 4 221 189 32 22 20 2 2 28
6 Castres 10 6 0 4 205 203 2 20 21 2 2 28
7 Lyon 10 5 1 4 240 185 55 25 18 3 1 26
8 Bordeaux Bègles 10 5 1 4 228 217 11 23 20 2 2 26
9 Montpellier 10 5 1 4 247 222 25 30 26 1 2 25
10 Pau 10 4 0 6 190 251 –61 18 27 0 2 18
11 Grenoble 10 2 2 6 199 245 –46 15 29 0 4 15
12 Toulon 10 3 0 7 175 234 –59 19 23 1 1 14
13 Agen 10 2 1 7 158 297 –139 12 37 0 3 13
14 Perpignan 10 0 0 10 161 274 –113 14 27 0 5 5

If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:

  1. Competition points earned in head-to-head matches
  2. Points difference in head-to-head matches
  3. Try differential in head-to-head matches
  4. Points difference in all matches
  5. Try differential in all matches
  6. Points scored in all matches
  7. Tries scored in all matches
  8. Fewer matches forfeited
  9. Classification in the previous Top 14 season
Green background (rows 1 and 2) receive semi-final play-off places and receive berths in the 2019–20 European Rugby Champions Cup.
Blue background (rows 3 to 6) receive quarter-final play-off places, and receive berths in the Champions Cup.
Plain background indicates teams that earn a place in the 2019–20 European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Pink background (row 13) will qualify to the Relegation play-offs.
Red background (row 14) will automatically be relegated to Rugby Pro D2.

Final table — source: [1]

Current squad[edit]

The Stade Français squad for the 2018–19 season is:[2]

Stade Français squad



Second row

Back row






(c) Denotes team captain, Bold denotes internationally capped and CDF denotes youth team (Centre de Formation) players.

Notable former players[edit]



Season statistics[edit]

Early years[edit]

Competition Season Stade Français Opponent in final Final score
French Rugby Championship 1892 Runners-up France Racing Club de France 4–3
1892–93 Champions France Racing Club de France 7–3
1893–94 Champions France Inter-Nos 18–0
1894–95 Champions France Olympique 16–0
1895–96 Runners-up France Olympique 12–0
1896–97 Champions
1897–98 Champions
1898–99 Runners-up France Stade Bordelais 5–3
1900–01 Champions France Stade Bordelais Forfeit
1902–03 Champions France Stade Toulousain 16–8
1903–04 Runners-up France Stade Bordelais 3–0
1904–05 Runners-up France Stade Bordelais 12–3
1905–06 Runners-up France Stade Bordelais 9–0
1906–07 Runners-up France Stade Bordelais 14–3
1907–08 Champions France Stade Bordelais 16–3
1926–27 Runners-up France Stade Toulousain 19–9

Head coaches[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stade français will return to their traditional home, Stade Jean-Bouin, for the 2013–14 season. While it was being renovated, they played in Stade Sébastien Charléty during the 2011–12 and 2012–13 seasons. The club intends to take at least one home Top 14 match to Stade de France in 2013–14.[1]


  1. ^ "Billetterie Informations" (in French). Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Effectif Pro". Stade Français (in French). Retrieved 10 August 2018.

External links[edit]