Two of this weekend’s Top 14 fixtures have been ‘postponed’ due to the ongoing player strike of both Stade Français and Racing 92 players. Scheduled matches involving Castres and Montpellier will now not take place. The strike comes in the wake of a shock announcement earlier in the week by the respective club owners, Thomas Savare and Jacky Lorenzetti, that the two Parisian clubs would merge ahead of the 2017-18 season.
Evidently the players of either club were not consulted prior to the decision and they are now united in discord. Robins Tchale-Watchou, Montpellier lock and head of the French players union, says the only way to break the strike is to cancel the merger. An emergency meeting between the LNR and representatives from all parties held on Friday did not yield immediate results, with the meeting to reconvene on Monday in an effort to resolve the issues.
A handful of Americas players are immediately affected, with Pumas exiles Juan Imhoff and Manuel Carizza at Racing 92 and Argentine-born Sergio Parisse at Stade Français. Also forced out of action this weekend as a result are Castres duo Rodrigo Capó Ortega and Benjamín Urdapilleta.
Only three players will thus see the field on Saturday with Chilean lock Pablo Huete and Argentine fullback Martín Bustos Moyano both in the starting lineup for Bayonne when they host Bordeaux. US Eagles winger Taku Ngwenya runs out for Brive as they travel to La Rochelle.
Both matches on Sunday are likely to involve Americas players. Patricio Albacete should continue his comeback in the Toulouse second row against loose forward Facundo Isa and Lyon. Toulon have the trio of Samu Manoa, Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, and Axel Müller at their disposal for the match at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble.