Nicolas Sanchez in action against the Brumbies. Photo: EPA/ROHAN THOMSON

PARIS - French Top 14 side Stade Francais announced on Wednesday the signings of France second-row Yoann Maestri and Argentinian international fly-half Nicolas Sanchez for next season.

The 30-year-old Maestri, who has been capped 59 times by France, was originally going to join La Rochelle from Toulouse, but had a change of heart after coach Patrice Collazo unexpectedly left the club last week.

According to French media reports, Stade Francais paid La Rochelle 700,000 euros ($825,000) in compensation.

Maestri won two Top 14 titles and the 2010 European Cup with Toulouse in a nine-year spell.

Sanchez, 29, has been a star player over the last few years for Argentina and impressed at Toulon in the 2014-15 season after a three-year stint at Bordeaux-Begles.

He will now return to France after spending the last two seasons in his home country with Super Rugby team Jaguares.

Parisian club Stade struggled this term, only avoiding relegation on the final day of the campaign, but will be expecting to rebuild under new South African coach Heyneke Meyer.

The new acquisitions are a statement of intent from Stade after being bought last year by Swiss billionaire Hans-Peter Wild, who said last month he wanted the team to win the French title in the next "three or four years".

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