The shock proposed merger between Paris rivals Racing 92 and Stade Francais has resulted in Saturday’s (Sunday ADT) Top 14 fixtures involving the clubs being postponed.
Stade, whose players including Australian halfback Will Genia are on strike over the planned merger, were due to play at Castres, while Racing were to face at Montpellier.
New dates for the two matches involving the two Paris giants – Racing are defending Top 14 champions and boast ex-All Black star Dan Carter in their ranks, while Stade are captained by Italy skipper Sergio Parisse – are due to be announced by Monday evening.
The other five round-21 games are due to go ahead.
Montpellier stated their opposition to the postponement of their clash with Racing, saying they would try to get the game to go ahead as originally scheduled.
Racing responded with a sympathetic statement, saying they will not pick their five France players currently on RBS 6 Nations duty for the rearranged fixture.
Castres are understood to be unconcerned about their postponement.
The announcement of the postponements came two hours after a meeting between Racing and Stade to discuss the merger. Another meeting between the two clubs will take place early next week.
Stade players and supporters, wearing the team’s traditional pink, protested outside the meeting at the headquarters of the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) in Paris.
A LNR statement, confirming the postponements, read: “The LNR has taken into account the unusual nature of the situation and has decided to postpone to a later date the matches Castres Olympique/Stade Francais Paris and Montpellier Herault Rugby/Racing 92 this weekend.”
Defending Top 14 champions Racing sit a disappointing eighth in the league table, three places above Stade, whose players appear particularly concerned about their futures.
The Stade squad are ready to accept the consequences of their strike, according to the president of the French players’ union Robins Tchale-Watchou.