Top 14: Biarritz face possible sanction for player regulation breach

Lawrence Nolan

Adding insult to injury, relegated Biarritz will face a four-point deduction next season for a breach of player regulations unless they field 15 French players in this weekend’s Top 14 encounter against Toulouse.

The regulation is the so-called JIFF-rule (JIFF means Player of French Formation), which stipulates that each team must field an average of 16 JIFF players – meaning one who has spent three years in France and is not an international anywhere else – per game over the course of the season.

Most teams well clear

For Biarritz and Perpignan, who were promoted last season, the number is only 14 for their first season in the Top 14.

Biarritz currently have an average of 13.96, and so must field 15 JIFF players in their final game against Toulouse to ensure they reach the benchmark, or they will be hit with the mandatory points deduction ahead of next season.

Two other teams are flirting with danger: Toulon and Castres; both will also have to field 15 JIFF players to escape the sanction.

Toulouse top the JIFF charts, with an average of 19.72 (including several members of the Grand Slam-winning national team). Racing, Clermont; and Bordeaux-Begles also have an average of more than 19. Most other teams are slightly over 16.

READ MORE: Top 14: Mathieu Bastareaud to leave Lyon