Racing 92 (French pronunciation: [ʁasiŋ ka.tʁə.vɛ̃.duz]) is a French professional rugby union club based in the Hauts-de-Seine department, Paris' western inner suburbs that competes in Top 14. The club plays its home matches at the 30,681-capacity domed stadium Paris La Défense Arena, located near the La Défense business district.

Racing 92
Full nameRacing 92
Nickname(s)Le Racing
Les Racingmen
Les Ciel et Blanc (The Sky Blue and Whites)
Founded1890; 134 years ago (1890) (Racing Club de France)
2001; 23 years ago (2001) (Métro Racing 92)
LocationNanterre, France
Ground(s)Paris La Défense Arena (Capacity: 30,681)
ChairmanJacky Lorenzetti
PresidentLaurent Travers
Coach(es)Stuart Lancaster
Captain(s)Henry Chavancy
Most appearancesHenry Chavancy (353)
Top scorerMaxime Machenaud (1,307)
Most triesJuan Imhoff (111)
League(s)Top 14
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

Founded in 1890 as the rugby union section of the Paris sports club Racing Club de France, Racing 92 is one the oldest rugby clubs in France and has traditionally worn a sky blue and white hooped home kit since its inception. The club in its current form is the result of a merger with US Métro in 2001, having been rebranded Métro Racing 92 and then Racing Métro 92 from 2005 to 2015 when the club took its current name. 92 refers to the number of the Hauts-de-Seine department that henceforth supports the team. After a stint in the second division, Racing Métro 92 returned to the first division in 2009 and very quickly emerged as a flagship club thanks to ambitious recruitment and significant financial resources. Since the promotion, Racing 92 has always taken part in the Top 14 playoffs and won the Bouclier de Brennus on one occasion in 2016. The following year, the club left its forever home Stade Yves-du-Manoir for its new stadium, the Paris La Défense Arena.[1]

Throughout its history, Racing 92 has won a total of six league titles including the inaugural edition of the French championship in 1892, one Pro D2 title and one Coupe de l'Espérance. The club also reached the European Rugby Champions Cup final three times in 2016, 2018 and 2020 but has never managed to win the trophy yet. Racing 92 has a long-standing rivalry with nearby club Stade Français.

History edit

The team that played London Irish in 1899.

Racing Club was established in 1882 (it became Racing Club de France in 1885) as an athletics club, one of the first in France. New sections were regularly added thereafter (17 as of 2006, accounting for some 20,000 members). A rugby section was founded in 1890, which became an immediate protagonist of the early French championship to which, until 1898, only Parisian teams were invited. On 20 March 1892 the USFSA organised the first-ever French rugby championship, a one off game between Racing and Stade Français. The game was refereed by Pierre de Coubertin and saw Racing win 4–3.[2] Racing were awarded the Bouclier de Brennus, which is still awarded to the winners of the French championship today.

Both clubs would contest the championship game the following season as well, though in 1893 it would be Stade Français who would win the event, defeating the Racing Club 7–3. Stade went on to dominate the following years and the Racing Club would make their next final appearance in the 1898 season, where they met Stade yet again. However the title was awarded after a round-robin with six clubs. Stade Français won with 10 points, Racing came in second with 6.

Racing Club playing Stade Francais in a calendar illustration of 1906.

Racing contested the 1900 season final against the Stade Bordelais club, as provincial clubs had been allowed to compete in 1899. Racing easily won the match, defeating Stade Bordelais 37–7. The two clubs would meet again in the 1902 championship game, where Racing would again win, 6–0. A decade passed until Racing Club made another championship final, which would be on 31 March 1912, where they would play Toulouse in Toulouse. They lost the match 8–6.

Due to World War I the French championship was replaced with a competition called the Coupe de l'Espérance. The Racing Club won the competition in 1918, defeating FC Grenoble 22 points to 9. Normal competition resumed for the 1920 season. That season the Racing Club made their first final since 1912, though they lost 8 to 3 to Stadoceste Tarbais, a club from the Pyrénées.

After the 1920 season, the Racing Club would not win any championships for a number of years. In 1931 they created the Challenge Yves du Manoir competition. In the 1950s the club had some success, making their first championship final in 30 years, losing to Castres Olympique, 11 points to 8, becoming runners-up in the Challenge Yves du Manoir and winning the Challenge Rutherford in the 1952 season. After losing the 1957 final to FC Lourdes, the club then won the championship in the 1959 season, defeating Mont-de-Marsan 8 points to 3.

The Racing Club would next play in the championship final in the 1987 season, where they met Toulon at Parc des Princes in Paris. Toulon won the match 15 points to 12. Three seasons later the Racing Club defeated Agen 22 to 12 in Paris, capturing their first title since the 1959 season.

But in the wake of the 1990 title, Racing Club had a hard time adapting to the professional era and started to decline, until they were relegated to Division 2 at the end of the 1995–96 season. They jumped back to the top tier in 1998 but went down again in 2000 and played in Division 2 for most of the next decade. In 2001 the rugby section split off from the general sports club to merge with the rugby section of US Métro, the Paris public transport sports club, to form the current professional concern, known as Racing Métro 92. Both Racing Club de France and US Métro retained their other amateur general sports sections.

Racing 92's president is Jacky Lorenzetti, who heads a giant real estate company called Foncia. When Lorenzetti took over in 2006, the board set goals of bringing Racing into the Top 14 within the next two years and into the Heineken Cup by 2011. They missed their Top 14 goal by one year, not entering the top flight until 2009, but achieved their Heineken Cup goal by qualifying for the 2010–11 edition.

After 2003 the Challenge Yves du Manoir has been taken over by Racing Club as a youth competition for under 15s clubs. Racing Club de France provided 76 players to the national team, including 12 captains. It is second only to Stade Toulousain (almost 100) in that category. Three Racingmen played in France's first international match against the All Blacks on 1 January 1906. Laurent Cabannes, a France flanker, also played for Harlequins.

At the end of the 2014–15 season, the team's name was shortened from Racing Métro 92 to simply Racing 92.[3]

Identity edit

Aristocratic exclusivity edit

Former logo, when the team was known as "Racing Métro 92"

In France, early organised sport was a matter for rich people. Racing Club became the epitome of the exclusive athletics club, located in the heart of the Bois de Boulogne in the affluent western district of Paris. As the club's name, Racing, indicates, it was modelled after fashionable English sports organisations,[citation needed] whose ideal of mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body) appealed very much to its members. Many of them were actually aristocrats, and four nobles took part in the first championship final. Although fewer aristocrats belong to the club now, it is still very complicated to join it, and the identity and image is one of exclusivity.

Racing Club has also always defended the amateur spirit of the game and of sports in general. The creation of the Challenge Yves du Manoir responded to this ideal in a period (late 1920s–early 1930s) where French rugby was marred by violence and undergoing creeping professionalism. Yves du Manoir symbolised the romantic side of rugby, its carefree dimension, le jeu pour le jeu (playing for the fun of playing).

Modern eccentricity edit

In a very different vein, much later, in the 1980s, a talented generation of players revived the club's spirit. They carried it back to the top of French rugby thanks to their performances on the pitch, but they also wanted to bring the fun back into the game, to take rugby out of its Parisian anonymity. They did so through a combination of serious football, humour and self-mockery. Their famous antics were invented by the club's backs (including France flyhalf Franck Mesnel and France wing Jean-Baptiste Lafond) who once played a game in Bayonne with berets on their heads as a tribute to the tradition of attacking play of the Basque club Aviron Bayonnais (11 Jan 1987). As members of a gang which they called le show bizz, they played other matches with black make-up on (10 April 1988 at Stade Toulousain), hair dyed yellow, bald caps (26 Feb 1989 against Béziers), wigs and even dressed up as pelote players (white shirts, black jackets and berets, again) in March 1990 at Biarritz Olympique. In April 1989, they wore long red and white striped shorts to celebrate the sans-culotte who took the Bastille on 14 July 1789. They wore long white trousers to look like players of old in the French championship semi-final on 26 April 1987—and won. Their best prank was in the next game though: they played the 1987 final against Toulon with a pink bow tie (2 May). Just before kick-off, Lafond presented French president François Mitterrand, who always attended the national final, with one of those bow ties. They lost that match but went on to play the 1990 final with the same bow ties. At half-time, they had a drink of champagne on the pitch to recover from the efforts of the first half—and won what proved to be the club's last top-flight title for a quarter-century.

They were also famous for their love of nightlife, which attracted a lot of criticism, especially because so many of them had international duties with France. All this contributed to the image of Racing Club as an eccentric institution, but these players have also been seen as trail blazers for Stade Français's president Max Guazzini, who a few years later, took up the provocative (such as the use of the pink colour) and imaginative spirit to boost his club's image and shake off the conservative traditionalism of French rugby.

As the club hit the front pages, five players capitalised on the success and went on to start a sportswear clothing business called Eden Park (after the famous Auckland stadium) in late 1987. Their development was boosted when the French Federation chose them as official suppliers of France's formal wear in 1998. The company has 270 outlets throughout the world. One of them is in Richmond as Eden Park developed a partnership with Harlequins. Others are to be found in Northampton, Leeds, Belfast, Dublin and Cardiff. In 2003, Eden Park became the official supplier of the Welsh Rugby Union's formal wear for the World Cup in Australia. Eden Park is also directly involved in the Racing 92 club since one of its founders, Eric Blanc—who happens to be Franck Mesnel's brother-in-law, is the club's vice-president.[citation needed]

This particular period ended in the early 1990s when those players left the club. Racing then spent several years in the second division, but retained plenty of ambition. In 2007–08, Racing finished second on the ladder to equally ambitious Toulon, but fell short of promotion with an extra-time loss to Mont-de-Marsan in the Pro D2 promotion playoff final. The following year saw Racing's ambitions realised with a romp to the Pro D2 crown, clinching promotion with four rounds to spare.

In their return to the top flight in 2009–10, Racing finished sixth on the regular-season table, two spots ahead of their Parisian rivals, securing the final spot in the newly expanded playoffs—despite actually being outscored by their opponents on the season. This finish also gave Racing a place in the 2010–11 Heineken Cup. Their season ended with a 21–17 first-round loss at eventual champions Clermont. The 2010–11 season saw Racing emphatically, though only temporarily, reestablish themselves as the top club in Paris, finishing second on the regular-season table to Stade Français' 11th.[4]

Lorenzetti's model for success has been to combine young French talent with big-name imports. More significantly, while he largely bankrolled the team during the first years of his tenure as president, he is committed to making the club self-supporting. To that end, he financed the construction of a new 32,000-seat stadium for the club in the Paris suburb of Nanterre, near La Défense. The new ground, known at its October 2017 opening as U Arena and renamed Paris La Défense Arena in June 2018, has been Racing's home since December 2017. It is also designed to host major concerts, potentially providing Racing with substantial non-match revenue.

Racing made headlines in December 2014, announcing that it had signed All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter, the all-time leading points scorer in international rugby, to a three-year deal effective after the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The contract reportedly made Carter the first player in rugby history to make £1 million (€1.3 million at late-2014 exchange rates) a season,[5] with reports of his annual salary as high as £1.3 million (€1.7 million).[6] When the signing was announced, Lorenzetti said, "Carter will be the best-paid player at Racing but also the least expensive because of the economic benefits."[6] Carter filled the void at fly-half left by the return of Johnny Sexton to Leinster Rugby at the end of the 2014–15 season.[6]

Still more recently, Racing became the first Top 14 side to establish a satellite club in the United States, signing a partnership agreement in 2016 with Austin Huns, a club from Austin, Texas that planned to turn fully professional. The partnership includes youth player development, player exchanges, Racing 92 exhibitions in Austin, and marketing.[7]

Honours edit

Finals results edit

European Rugby Champions Cup edit

Date Winner Runner-up Score Venue Attendance
14 May 2016 Saracens Racing 92 21–9 Grand Stade de Lyon, Décines 58,017
12 May 2018 Leinster Racing 92 15-12 San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao 52,282[8]
17 October 2020 Exeter Racing 92 31–27 Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol 0[9]

French championship edit

Date Winner Runner-up Score Venue Attendance
20 March 1892 Racing Club de France Stade Français 4–3 Bagatelle, Paris 2,000
19 May 1893 Stade Français Racing Club de France 7–3 Bécon-les-Bruyères 1,200
22 April 1900 Racing Club de France Stade Bordelais UC 37–3 Levallois-Perret 1,500
23 March 1902 Racing Club de France Stade Bordelais UC 6–0 Parc des Princes, Paris 1,000
31 March 1912 Stade Toulousain Racing Club de France 8–6 Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse 15,000
25 April 1920 Stadoceste Tarbais Racing Club de France 8–3 Route du Médoc, Le Bouscat 20,000
16 April 1950 Castres Olympique Racing Club de France 11–8 Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse 25,000
26 May 1957 FC Lourdes Racing Club de France 16–13 Stade de Gerland, Lyon 30,000
24 May 1959 Racing Club de France Stade Montois 8–3 Parc Lescure, Bordeaux 31,098
22 May 1987 RC Toulon Racing Club de France 15–12 Parc des Princes, Paris 48,000
26 May 1990 Racing Club de France SU Agen 22–12 (aet) Parc des Princes, Paris 45,069
24 June 2016 Racing 92 RC Toulon 29–21 Camp Nou, Barcelona 99,124

Challenge Yves du Manoir edit

Year Winner Score Runner-up
1952 Section Paloise round robin Racing Club de France

Coupe de l'Espérance edit

Date Winner Score Runner-up
1918 Racing Club de France 22–9 FC Grenoble

Pro D2 promotion playoffs edit

Date Winner Runner-up Score Venue Attendance
21 June 2008 Stade Montois Racing Metro 92 32–23 (aet) Stade Municipal de Beaublanc, Limoges 6,000[10]

Current standings edit

2023–24 Top 14 Table
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Diff. Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Stade Français 20 14 1 5 412 332 +80 4 1 63
2 Toulouse 20 13 0 7 577 449 +128 6 2 60
3 Racing 20 11 0 9 482 405 +77 4 4 52
4 Toulon 20 11 0 9 538 399 +139 4 3 51
5 La Rochelle 20 10 0 10 450 347 +103 5 6 51
6 Bordeaux Bègles 20 11 0 9 480 456 +24 2 3 49
7 Pau 20 10 0 10 466 458 +8 2 4 46
8 Castres 20 9 0 11 497 499 –2 4 5 45
9 Perpignan 20 10 0 10 449 537 –88 4 0 44
10 Bayonne 20 9 0 11 436 504 –68 2 5 43
11 Clermont 20 8 2 10 440 497 –57 3 3 42
12 Lyon 20 9 0 11 462 570 –108 4 2 42
13 Montpellier 20 8 0 12 395 465 –70 1 5 38
14 Oyonnax 20 5 1 14 436 602 –166 0 4 26

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 2024–25 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 2024–25 European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Pink background (row 13) will be contest a play-off with the runners-up of the 2023–24 Rugby Pro D2 season for a place in the 2024–25 Top 14 season.
Red background (row 14) will be relegated to Rugby Pro D2.
Updated: 14 April 2024

Current squad edit

The Racing 92 squad for the 2023–24 season is: [11][12]

Note: Flags indicate national union under World Rugby eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-World Rugby nationality.

Player Position Union
Camille Chat Hooker   France
Peniami Narisia Hooker   Fiji
Janick Tarrit Hooker   France
Eddy Ben Arous Prop   France
Guram Gogichashvili Prop   Georgia
Cedate Gomes Sa Prop   France
Gia Kharaishvili Prop   Georgia
Hassane Kolingar Prop   France
Thomas Laclayat Prop   France
Thomas Moukoro Prop   France
Trevor Nyakane Prop   South Africa
Bernard Le Roux Lock   France
Boris Palu Lock   France
Veikoso Poloniati Lock   Tonga
Will Rowlands Lock   Wales
Cameron Woki Lock   France
Maxime Baudonne Back row   France
Baptiste Chouzenoux Back row   France
Ibrahim Diallo Back row   France
Anthime Hemery Back row   France
Jordan Joseph Back row   France
Kitione Kamikamica Back row   Fiji
Siya Kolisi Back row   South Africa
Wenceslas Lauret Back row   France
Fabien Sanconnie Back row   France
Player Position Union
James Hall Scrum-half   South Africa
Clovis Le Bail Scrum-half   France
Nolann Le Garrec Scrum-half   France
Antoine Gibert Fly-half   France
Martin Méliande Fly-half   France
Tristan Tedder Fly-half   South Africa
Henry Chavancy Centre   France
Gaël Fickou Centre   France
Olivier Klemenczak Centre   France
Francis Saili Centre   New Zealand
Josua Tuisova Centre   Fiji
Vinaya Habosi Wing   Fiji
Juan Imhoff Wing   Argentina
Wame Naituvi Wing   Fiji
Donovan Taofifenua Wing   France
Christian Wade Wing   England
Henry Arundell Fullback   England
Paul Leraître Fullback   France
Max Spring Fullback   France

Espoirs squad edit

The Racing 92 Espoirs squad is:[13]

Note: Flags indicate national union under World Rugby eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-World Rugby nationality.

Player Position Union
Alex Bonnard Hooker   France
Noé Férary Hooker   France
Herman Coetzee Prop   Namibia
Lino Julien Prop   France
Thymo Peters Prop   Netherlands
Jules Laumond Prop   France
Kiliémo Manuopuava Prop   France
Junior Kpoku Lock   England
Pietro Turrisi Lock   Italy
Mahamadou Coulibaly Back row   France
Alex Mattioli Back row   Italy
Shingi Manyarara Back row   Zimbabwe
Jassem Saghri Back row   France
Noa Zinzen Back row   France
Tom Zukisani Back row   South Africa
Player Position Union
Nils Chaliés Fly-half   France
Arthur Espeut Centre   France
Logan Tabet Centre   France
Inia Tabuavou Centre   Fiji
Enzo Benmagel Wing   France

Coaching staff edit

The following members were part of Racing 92 coaching staff for the 2023–24 season. Stuart Lancaster replaced Laurent Travers as head coach during off-season, on 30 June 2023.[14]

Position Name
Head coach   Stuart Lancaster
Forwards coach   Dimitri Szarzewski
Backs coach   Frédéric Michalak
Skills coach   Joe Rokocoko
Head of physical performance   Paul Stridgeon
Team manager   Tom Whitford

Notable current and past players edit

Chairmen edit

Years Name Club Section
2004 – ...... Jean-Patrick Lesobre Racing Club de France Amateurs
2006 – ...... Jacky Lorenzetti Racing Metro 92 Professional

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Raulin, Maxime (30 May 2019). "Top 14 : le stade Yves-du-Manoir ressuscité pour le barrage Racing 92-La Rochelle". L'Équipe (in French). Retrieved 26 September 2023.
  2. ^ "R.C. France 4 – Stade Francais 3". Archived from the original on 25 November 2006. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
  3. ^ "Le Racing Metro 92 devient Racing 92" (Press release) (in French). Racing 92. 10 June 2015. Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  4. ^ Moriarty, Ian (17 May 2011). "Times are changing in Paris". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Money lured Carter to Racing Metro". ESPN Scrum. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Hamilton, Tom (18 December 2014). "Carter leads migration for lucrative swansong". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 18 December 2014.
  7. ^ Lyttle, Kevin (27 April 2016). "Austin rugby club making plans to compete in pro league". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Leinster lift fourth European Cup after 15-12 victory over Racing 92". Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Exeter Chiefs secure first Heineken Champions Cup after dramatic success over Racing 92". Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  10. ^ "Pro D2 Finale : Mont-de-Marsan – Racing Metro 92". L'Équipe (in French). France. 21 June 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2009.
  11. ^ "Racingmen" (in French). Racing 5 January 2024. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  12. ^ "Racing 92 squad for season 2023/2024". All Rugby. 5 January 2024. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  13. ^ "Centre de formation" (in French). Racing 5 January 2024. Retrieved 5 January 2024.
  14. ^ "Le Racing 92 officialise l'arrivée de nouvelles recrues dans son effectif". Racing 92 (in French). 30 June 2023. Retrieved 15 July 2023.

External links edit