New Stade coaches face baptism of fire

The newly-appointed Stade Francais coaching team face a baptism of fire when the Parisian club host unbeaten Castres in Top 14 action this weekend.

Stade owner Max Guazzini on Tuesday fired Ewen McKenzie and Christophe Dominici and named Jacques Delmas and Didier Faugeron in their place until the season’s end.

Stade currently sit second from bottom of the Top 14 with just seven points garnered from five games and the new duo will have to act quickly to turn around the fortunes of a squad laden with internationals and boasting a host of high-profile off-season signings.

Castres will arrive in the French capital full of heart after three wins from three but somewhat short of match fitness having seen games against Montauban and Albi postponed after seven players contracted swine flu.

The first Basque derby of the season takes place for the first time in San Sebastian, northern Spain, as Biarritz take on neighbours Bayonne.

Some 24,000 seats in the 32,000-capacity Anoeta stadium have been sold and Biarritz president Serge Blanco said that being in San Sebastian was like being at home.

“We’ll have the impression of playing at the Aguilera (stadium in Biarritz),” the former France full-back said. “We’ll take all of Biarritz to San Sebastian.

“It’s the fifth time we’ve come here and this match is to be a springboard to continue our season. Rugby is turning a new corner, more professional. It’s important to be able to increase revenues.”

That said, there is speculation that Bayonne fans are giving the short drive into Spain a wide berth in order not to bolster the coffers of their bitter rivals, with many tickets having been returned.

“We have to show that we’re above all this bickering and that we’re on a new cycle,” Blanco insisted.

“This should be the Basque country’s fiesta and not a place where we’re settling counts.”

Second-placed Clermont take on Paris’ second team Racing-Metro 92, the latter buoyed by an impressive display against champions Perpignan last week that saw them finally edged 18-14.

Toulouse host bottom side Albi, who are winless after four games, but Yannick Nyanga was taking nothing for granted.

“No, not at all,” the France flanker said when asked whether Saturday’s run-out would be easy. “We don’t go into this match like that. That would be a huge mistake.

“The minimum is to keep the same spirit as we had for the Clermont game (lost 19-12). We must respect our opponents. Albi are a very tough team up-front. We’re playing at home and we must all be present and accounted for.”

Elsewhere, Montauban are at home against Brive, while Montpellier host Toulon in the clash for south coast supremacy.

Friday’s game sees Bourgoin hosting Perpignan in Grenoble.


Bourgoin v Perpignan


Biarritz v Bayonne,
Clermont v Racing-Metro 92,
Montauban v Brive,
Montpellier v Toulon,
Stade Francais v Castres,
Toulouse v Albi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.