Racing 92 to offload at least 12 players to fit Owen Farrell and Siya Kolisi in salary cap

Jared Wright
England's Owen Farrell (left) and South Africa's Siya Kolisi during the Rugby World Cup, semi final match at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis.

England's Owen Farrell (left) and South Africa's Siya Kolisi during the Rugby World Cup, semi final match at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis.

Racing 92 are planning a squad overhaul ahead of Owen Farrell’s arrival to comply with the Top 14 salary cap, according to reports.

The Top 14 giants announced the signing of the England and Saracens star on Monday evening, but his arrival will be coupled with a host of departures.

The Parisian club already has a number of big-name players on their books, including Rugby World Cup-winning Springboks captain Siya Kolisi, France stars Gael Fickou and Cameron Woki, Fijian powerhouse Josua Tuisova and rising star Henry Arundell.

With France internationals Demba Bamba and Romain Taofifenua also signing with Racing 92, this has led many to wonder how they will be able to adhere to the salary cap, which is set at €10m.

Planned overhaul

According to a report by French publication Midi Olympique, at least 12 players will depart Racing 92 at the end of the season, freeing up space in the club’s budget.

Firstly, the report clarified that the €500,000 Racing are rumoured to have paid Saracens to buy Farrell out of the final season of his contract at the Premiership club does not count towards the salary cap.

This is just the first factor that assists Racing 92 in adhering to the salary cap despite having so many star players on their payroll.

But Stuart Lancaster is still set to overhaul his squad ahead of his second full season in charge with many of the 12 players set to depart the club being long-term servants of the club and veterans.

According to Midi Olympique, props Trevor Nyakane and Cedate Gomes Sa will both leave Racing while club great Wenceslas Lauret hangs up his boots. Meanwhile, veteran wing Juan Imhoff will not be offered a contract extension, having been at the club since 2011.

Former All Black Francis Saili is also set to leave the club along with Olivier Klemenczak, Anthime Hemery, Veikoso Poloniati and Baptiste Chouzenoux.

Ex-Wasps and England speedster Christian Wade has also not been offered a contract extension. Fijians Kitione Kamikamica and Peniami Narisia are the final two players that will be released.

Two big signings

The squad overhaul is not the only factor that will help Racing remain within the constraints set by the LNR but also the fact that top earners Finn Russell and Virimi Vakatawa also left in recent seasons. Kolisi’s signing will have taken up a chunk of that budget freed up, and Farrell’s likely to take the rest.

It is understood that the overhaul is not just to fit new signings Bamba, Taofifenua and Farrell in their salary cap but is also Lancaster’s plan to work with a smaller group of players with Racing’s academy set to make up the shortfall.

Kolisi and Farrell are set to be the top earners at the club, with multiple reports suggesting that the pair will be earning around €1 million a season.

READ MORE: The long list of potential replacements for Owen Farrell at Saracens