French Top 14 2008/09

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Top 14
Big names lured by power of the euro
August 6, 2009
Toulon fly-half Jonny Wilkinson lines up a kick at goal during a pre-season friendly against Brive, Stade Mayol, Toulouse, July 24, 2009
Jonny Wilkinson is set to be one of this Top 14 season's biggest drawcards © Getty Images

The Top 14 has dominated the headlines during the close-season, with big transfers the order of the day in France's top competition.

Toulon lead the way with their swoop for Newcastle's Jonny Wilkinson and Sale skipper Juan-Martin Fernandez Lobbe, while Stade Francais also swooped for England internationals James Haskell and Tom Palmer.

High profile departures included Stade fly-half Juan-Martin Hernandez - off to test himself with the Sharks in South Africa - and Toulon's All Black flanker Jerry Collins, who has joined the Ospreys.

Last Season: Promoted
The man in charge: Eric Bechu

In: Lucas Borges (Dax), Anthony Poujol (Béziers), Florent Fourcade (Tarbes), Dave Vainqueur (Stade Français), Pierre Correia (Stade Français), Thomas Sanchou (Castres), Michel Denêtre (Agen), Cyriac Ponnau (Agen), Thomas Fournil (Narbonne), Benjamin Sore (Agen)

Out: Nicolas Grelon (Béziers), Stanislas Krzesinski (Mazamet), Julien Saintenac (Colomiers), Willem Meyer (AFS)

Last Season: 7th
The man in charge: Richard Dourthe

In: Ross Filippo (Crusaders), Renaud Boyoud (Dax), Lionel Mazars (Castres), Benat Arrayet (Mont-de-Marsan), Antony Salle-Canne (Colomiers), Ace Tiatia (Agen), Salvatore Perugini (Toulouse)

Out: Cédric Bergez (retired), Andrew Springgay (Agen), Antony Etchegaray (Mont-de-Marsan), Julian Fiorini (Mont-de-Marsan), Julien Tilloles (Mont-de-Marsan), Johnny Howard (Aix-en-Provence)

Last Season: 5th
The men in charge: Jean-Michel Gonzalez and Jack Isaac

In: Romain Terrain (Castres), Florian Faure (Castres), Raphaël Lakafia (Grenoble), Arnaud Mignardi (Clermont), Ian Taele (Overmach Parme), Ayoola Erinle (Leicester), Alexandre Barozzi (Auch), Yann Fior (La Rochelle), Iain Balshaw (Gloucester), Fabien Alexandre (Clermont), Charles Gimenez (Toulouse)

Out: Benjamin Thiéry (Montpellier), Benjamin Noirot (Racing-Métro), Andréa Masi (Racing-Metro), Jacques Cronje (Racing-Métro), Peio Som (La Rochelle), Henry Fa'Afili (Leeds), Benoît Bourrust (Perpignan), Nicolas Pretorius (Dax), Romain Cabannes (Castres)

Last Season: 11th
The man in charge: Eric Catinot

In: John Senio (Clermont), Albert Vuli-Vuli (Reds), Sylvain Charlet (Bourg-en-Bresse), Piet Van Zyl (Boland), Alberto Di Bernardo (Leeds)

Out: Morgan Parra (Clermont), Yann David (Toulouse), Mathieu Nicolas (Castres), Damien Fèvre (Oyonnax)

Last Season: Champions 6th
The man in charge: Laurent Seigne

In: Scott Zimmerman (Bourg-en-Bresse), Retief Uys (Narbonne), Riki Flutey (Wasps), Jamie Noon (Newcastle), Shaun Perry (Bristol), Pat Barnard (Wasps), Vili Waqaseduadua (Waikato Chiefs), Guillaume Ribes (Toulon), Jonathan Garcia (La Rochelle)

Out: Ben Cohen (Sale Sharks); Johan van Zyl (Retired); Pierre Capdevielle (Gloucester); Jawad Djoudi (Toulon); Petru Balan (Dax); Vickus Liebenberg (SWD Eagles); Adam Jaulhac (Union Bordeaux-Bègles, on an extended loan); Alexandru Manta (Valence d'Agen); Jonathan Pelissié (Grenoble, on a season's loan); Barry Davies (Ospreys); Christopher Mickelwood (Newcastle Falcons); Kevin Buys (Golden Lions); Simon Hughes (Limoges); Pascal Oliveirinha (Cahors); Aurélien Béco (Limoges); Sukanaivalu Hufanga (Limoges); Liam Davies (Ospreys); Norman Ligairi (La Rochelle).

Last Season: 12th
The men in charge: Laurent Labit and Laurent Travers

In: Laurent Travers (Coach - Montauban), Laurent Labit (Coach - Montauban), Michael Coetzee (Racing-Métro), Alexandre Albouy (Stade Français), Ibrahim Diarra (Montauban), Yoan Audrin (Montauban), Mathias Rolland (Montauban), Yannick Caballero (Montauban), Mathieu Nicolas (Bourgoin), Pierre-Emmanuel Garcia (Clermont), Marc Andreu (Toulon), Romain Cabannes (Biarritz), Roman Miralles (CASI)

Out: Lionel Nallet (Racing-Métro), Anthony Lagardère, Steve Kefu (Wasps), Kevin Senio (Clermont), Mark McCall (Coach - Saracens), Florian Faure (Biarritz), Romain Terrain (Biarritz), Alexandre Bias (Agen), Lionel Mazars (Bayonne), Thomas Sanchou (SCA Albi), Alexandre Bias (SU Agen), Colin Gaston (retired); Danie Saayman (Mazamet), Gaston (retired).

Last Season: losing finalists (2nd)
The man in charge: Vern Cotter

In: Morgan Parra (Bourgoin), Lionel Faure (Sale), Jason White (Sale), Tasesa Lavea (Auckland), Kevin Senio (Castres), Jaque Fourie (Lions), Willie Wepener (Lions)

Out: Pierre Mignoni (Toulon), Arnaud Mignardi (Biarritz), Laurent Emmanuelli (Toulon), Thomas Combezou (La Rochelle), John Senio (Bourgoin), Pierre-Emmanuel Garcia (Castres), Emmanuel Etien (Montauban), Campos (Montauban), Emmanuel Etien (Montauban), Fabien Alexandre (Biarritz), Simms Davison (Waikato)

Last Season: 8th
The men in charge: Sébastien Calvet and Marc Raynaud

In: Sébastien Calvet, Marc Raynaud (coach), Mathieu Bélie (on loan from Toulouse), Joël Koffi (Dax), Emmanuel Etien (Clermont), Andrew Henderson (Glasgow Warriors), Alejandro Campos (Clermont), Mathieu Bélie (on loan from Toulouse), Joel Koffi (Dax), Cédric Coll (Perpignan), Andrew Henderson (Glasgow Warriors).

Out: Laurent Travers (Castres - coach); Laurent Labit (Castres - coach); Fabien Fortassin (Racing-Métro 92); Yannick Caballero (Castres); Matthias Rolland (Castres); Yoan Audrin (Castres); Ibrahim Diarra (Castres); Fabrice Soldan (Valence d'Agen); Miguel Avramovic (Argentina); Camille Traversa (La Seyne); Gregory Parriel (Orléans); Marc Raynaud (retired - to become coach)

Last Season: 10th
The man in charge: TBC

In: Benjamin Thiéry (Biarritz), Juan Figallo (Jockey de salta), Marc Giraud (Mont-de-Marsan), George Chkhaidze (Racing-Métro), Sakiusa Matadigo (Auch)

Out: Louis Picamoles (Toulouse), Clément Baïocco (racing-Métro), Didier Chouchan (Béziers), Gonzalo Uva (POR), Frikkie Welsh (Western Province)

Last Season: Champions (1st)
The man in charge: Jacques Brunel

In: Benoît Bourrust (Biarritz)

Out: Dan Carter (Crusaders); Chris Cusiter (Glasgow); Sebastien Bozzi (retired); Romain Casals (FC Auch Gers); Nathan Hines (Leinster); Cédric Coll (Montauban); Ignacio Mieres (Stade Francais);

Racing Metro
Last Season: Promoted
The man in charge: Pierre Berbizier

In: Benjamin Noirot (Biarritz), Jacques Cronje (Biarritz), Fabien Fortassin (Montauban), Fabrice Culine (Agen), Juan-Pablo Orlandi (Rovigo), Lionel Nallet (Castres), Sébastien Chabal (Sale), Clément Baïocco (Montpellier), Rémi Vaquin (La Rochelle), François Steyn (Sharks), Julien Saubade (Stade Français), Epi Taione (Harlequins)

Out: Michael Coetzee (Castres); Georgi Chkhaldze (Montpellier); David Gérard (Marseille); Paino Kelekolio Hehea (Lyon OU); Ludovic Valbon (retired); Jean-Frédéric Dubois (Massy); Julian Vulakoro (Marseille-Vitrolles);

Stade Francais
Last Season: 4th
The man in charge: Ewan McKenzie

In: James Haskell (Wasps), Tom Palmer (Wasps), Benjamin Kayser (Leicester), Hugo Southwell (Edinburgh), Ollie Phillips (Newcastle), Julien Dupuy (Leicester), Rayno Gerber (Bulls), Charlie Davies (Nottingham)

Out: Fabrice Landreau (Grenoble - coach); Alexandre Albouy (Castres); Julien Saubade (Racing-Métro 92); Quentin Valancon (Union Bordeaux-Bègles); Pierre Correia (SCA Albi); Dave Valinqueur (SCA Albi); Ignacio Corleto (retired); Juan-Martin Hernandez (Natal Sharks); Franck Montanella (Aix-en-Provence); Stéphane Glas (retired); David Auradou (retired); Loic Charlon (Pau); Agustin Pichot (retired); Terry Bouhraoua (Béziers); Laurent Simutoga (La Rochelle); Ignacio Miéres (Perpignan); Gregori Labadze (Aix-en-Provence); Benoit Guyot (Biarritz); Nicolas JeanJean (Leicester)

RC Toulon
Last Season: 9th
The man in charge: Philippe Saint-Andre

In: Sébastien Bruno (Sale Sharks); Pierre Mignoni (Clermont Auvergne); Laurent Emmanuelli (Clermont Auvergne); Philippe Saint-André (Sale Sharks - Director of Rugby); Joe El Abd (Bristol); Felipe Contepomi (Leinster); Jamie Robinson (Cardiff Blues); Kris Chesney (Saracens); Tom May (Newcastle Falcons); Rory Lamont (Sale Sharks); Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Sale Sharks); Timmy Ryan (Munster); Jonny Wilkinson (Newcastle Falcons); Dewald Meyer Senekal (Golden Lions); Clément Marienval (Lyon OU); Christian Loamanu (Toshiba Brave); Tonga Lea'aetoa (London Irish); Jawad Djoudi (Brive)

Out: Orene Ai'i (Japan); Yoann Maestri (Toulouse); Tusi Pisi (Japan); Tiaan Liebenberg (Western Province); Martin Jagr (Union Bordeaux-Begles); Jerry Collins (Ospreys); Sisa Koyamaibole (Sale Sharks); Soane Toevalu (Mont-de-Marsan); Guillaume Ribes (Brive); Julien Chouquet (Union Bordeaux-Bègles); Marc Andreu (Castres); Ben Castle (Newport Gwent Dragons); Damien Vidal (Grenoble); Clément Imbert (Grenoble); Kiri Mariner (Marseille-Vitrolles); Alessio Galasso (La Seyne); Thomas Vervoot (SCA Albi); Tana Umaga (retired - to coach); Jerome Taofifénua Filitoga (retired); Mathieu Larrouy (Saint-Jean-de-Luz); Gregori Labadze (Marseille-Vitrolles)

Last Season: 2nd
The man in charge: Guy Noves

In: Yann David (Bourgoin); Louis Picamoles (Montpellier); Yoann Maestri (Toulon); Census Johnston (Saracens);

Out: Gaffie Du Toit (SWD Eagles); Mathieu André (Dax); Alexandre Ducasse (Dax); Loic Mazières (Dax); Charles Gimenez (Biarritz); Julien Raynaud (Montauban); Mathieu Bélie (Montauban); Stéphane Clement (La Rochelle); Salvatore Perugini (Bayonne); Fabien Pelous (retired); Netava Ravouvou (end of contract)

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