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Top 14: Dates, teams, history & more

Top 14 is the top division of professional rugby in France and considered to be one of the highest-quality competitions in Europe and across the world.

There is promotion and relegation between the Top 14 and the next level down, the Pro D2.

The 14 best teams in France participate in the competition, hence the name Top 14. The competition was previously known as the Top 16.

The league is one of the three major professional leagues in Europe, along with the English Premiership and the United Rugby Championship, which brings together top clubs from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Italy and South Africa. The most successful teams from those leagues compete in the European Rugby Champions Cup.

The player pool is heavily French, with every member of the current national team playing in the league. However, the division has some of the richest club owners in the sport and the salaries on offer have attracted several of the game's biggest names, with South Africa captain Siya Kolisi currently plying his trade at Racing 92.

Top 14 Dates

The domestic season runs from August through to June. Every club contests 26 games during the regular season, over 26 rounds of competition.

The 2024/25 campaign will begin on the weekend of Saturday 7th September, with the regular season's final round of fixtures taking place on the weekend of Saturday 7th June. The top six then compete in play-off series, with the Grand Final taking place on Saturday 28th June.

Top 14 Venues

Stade de Gerland - Lyon
Stade Chaban-Delmas - Bordeaux
Paris La Defense Arena - Nanterre
Stade Jean-Bouin - Paris
Stade Ernest-Wallon - Toulouse
Stade Marcel-Michelin - Clermont-Ferrand
Stade Marcel-Deflandre - La Rochelle
Stade Aime-Giral - Perpignan
Stade du Hameau - Pau
Stade Jean-Dauger - Bayonne
Stade Pierre-Fabre - Castres
Stade Mayol - Toulon
Stade de la Mosson - Montpellier
Stade de la Rabine - Vannes

Top 14 How to watch

UK audiences can watch the Top 14 on Viaplay.

Top 14 Format

Every Top 14 team plays all of the others home and away in a 26-weekend round-robin format.

The league is then followed by a play-off series before the Grand Final held at the Stade de France and the winner raises the Bouclier de Brennus trophy.

The Top 14 knock-out stage consists of three rounds. The teams finishing third through to sixth play quarter-finals, hosted by the third- and fourth-placed teams.

The winners then face the top two seeds in the semi-finals, whose winners then meet in the Grand Final in Saint-Denis.

The club who finish bottom of the Top 14 are automatically relegated to Pro D2 and 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 who finish in the top eight places of the Top 14 represent France in the following season's European Rugby Champions Cup.

The remaining Top 14 teams automatically qualify for the European Rugby Challenge Cup. This means all of the Top 14 teams represent France in European competitions.

Top 14 Schedule

The 2024/24 begins on the weekend of Saturday 7th September and the 26-round competition concludes on the weekend of Saturday 6th June.

The first round of the Championship play-offs and the promotion/relegation play-off take place on the weekend of Saturday 14th June.

The semi-finals will be held on the weekend of Saturday 21st June before the Grand Final on Saturday 28th June.

Top 14 History

The first incarnation of the Top 14 took place on 20th March 1892. This took the form of a Championship match that was organised between two Parisian clubs: Stade Francais and Racing Club de France.

Racing Club won the first competition 4-3. However, Stade Francais went on to win the title the following year.

Stade Toulouse hold the record for the most Top 14 titles.

Toulouse have won the Bouclier de Brennus trophy 23 times and are the current champions, having beaten Bordeaux 59-3 in the 2024 final.

Stade Francais have 14 wins, Beziers have 11, while Agen and Lourdes have eight wins apiece.

Top 14 Teams

Competing in the 2024/25 Top 14 competition are: Bayonne, Bordeaux, Castres, Clermont, La Rochelle, Lyon, Montpellier, Pau, Perpignan, Racing 92, Stade Francais, Stade Toulouse, Toulon and Vannes.

Top 14 Odds

The odds for the 2024/25 Top 14 are yet to be released but French and European champions Toulouse are likely to head the market.

La Rochelle, Stade Francais, Bordeaux, Racing 92 and Toulon, the other sides who finished in the top six in 2023/24, are also likely to be prominent in the market.

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