THE REST OF the rugby world was already well aware of the French clubs’ spending power, but the post-World Cup market has allowed the Top 14 to flex its financial muscle once again.

A host of world-class players will move to l‘Hexagone following the completion in the World Cup in October, Ireland captain Paul O’Connell among them.

Midi Olympique, the excellent biweekly rugby newspaper, this morning put together an XV of the foreign recruits joining Top 14 clubs later this year and it serves as the latest reminder of exactly how difficult beating the French sides in Europe is going to be.

From the du Plessis brothers at Montpellier, to O’Connell and Duane Vermeulen in Toulon, Willem Alberts at Stade Français, the legendary Dan Carter with Racing Métro, to Conrad Smith at Pau and Adam Ashley-Cooper at Bordeaux, it’s a blockbusting XV.

Midol also included some of the names who missed out on making the first-choice team under the title ‘But also’.

O’Connell is in, but the men who missed out are impressive too. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

In that list are Frans Steyn (Montpellier), Hosea Gear (Clermont), Quade Cooper (Toulon), Colin Slade (Pau), Demetri Catrakilis and Nic White (both Montpellier), Samu Manoa (Toulon), Luke Braid (Bordeaux), George Robson (Oyonnax), Apisai Naikatini (Agen), Salesi Ma’afu (Toulon) and Sekope Kepu (Bordeaux).

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What salary cap? JIFF,  c’est quoi?

All Blacks hopefuls out to impress in highly-anticipated Super Rugby deciderWarrington scored another sensationally skillful try last night