CSBJ Rugby: Updates on Club History and Nationale Results
CSBJ Rugby Highlights and History.
Club Sportif Bourgoin-Jallieu Rugby, aka CSBJ Rugby, is a former D1 Championship Group B champion. The club also has three second-division titles and a European Challenge trophy in its trophy cabinet.
Name and Club Colors
CSBJ Rugby’s powder blue kit offset with claret accents strongly resembles the colors of Aston Villa, a Premier League football club from Birmingham. The colors were proposed by an English student studying in Bourgoin at that time. Originally, the club’s name was Club Sportif Bergusien.
Founding and Early Years
The club started in 1906, nine years after a man named Fischer introduced rugby to Bourgoin. Isère, the department Bourgoin is located in, already had four rugby clubs at that point. CSBJ followed the footsteps of Grenoble, Vienne, Vizille, and La Mure to join the Isère rugby community.
Early Years in Second and Third Division
The club played in second and third divisions before the war. It did not make a first division appearance before the ’60s. Before it made its first division debut, the club rebranded itself as Club Sportif Bourgoin-Jallieu in 1956.
The 1960s: Entry to First Division
1965: Championship of Excellence Title
In the final of the 1965 championship, the CSBJ Rugby won its first major title, the Championship of Excellence (14-6 a.p. against Beaumont-de-Lomagne in the final in Avignon), and climbed for the first time in the first division, then called Nationale).
1966: First Division Debut
The debut in the first division was difficult, Bourgoin finished last in its pool in 1966, but the FFR came to its rescue. The final places for the 1967 Championship were allocated at the discretion of the FFR management committee. The federation chose to draft US Tyrosse, Stade Toulouse, SBUC, and SC Mazamet, alongside CSBJ.
But, CSBJ could not avoid getting axed from the division in 1968. It won the second division title in 1971 to return to the top flight. However, CSBJ’s first division experience was short-lived again as it suffered relegation in 1972.
The 1980s: Groupe B Success
The club became Group B runner-up in 1982 as it lost the final to Aire-sur-l’Adour. But, CSBJ had better luck in 1984, when it became Group B champion by beating Le Creusot in the final at Bourg en Bresse.
The club had some good results in Group A between 1984 and 1993. This period built the foundation of a team that would usher in a glorious era between 1994 and 2010. Coach Michel Couturas put together a formidable team that made CSBJ Rugby fight toe-to-toe with the division’s elites.
The 1990s: The Road to First Division Finals
In 1994, CSBJ made the first championship quarterfinals in its history. The next year, it progressed further in the competition and made it to the semifinals. Stade Toulouse picked up a controversial stoppage-time win to infuriate the CSBJ Rugby camp.
Then-CSBJ president Daniel Garnier wanted to take the case to court if the FFR did not invalidate the result. However, the result remained unchanged.
1997: European Challenge Cup Winner
In 1997, CSBJ made it to the final. But, Stade Toulouse heaped misery on the Bourgoin outfit again as it became the champions of France. But CSBJ did not have to finish the season empty-handed as it won the European Challenge beating Castres.
The Modern Era
Heading into the 2000s, the club made it to the European Challenge final and Coupe de France finals, but glory remained elusive. It put on a remarkable 46-match unbeaten streak at the Pierre Rajon Stadium between 2002 and 2006.
Relegation to Pro D2 and Nationale
Only two years after making the European Challenge final, CSBJ Rugby was relegated to Pro D2. The club’s financial problems were primarily responsible for its downfall. As the financial woes continued, the club went into a free fall. Soon, it found itself playing Fédérale 1 rugby.
The club has been in and out of Pro D2 in recent years. Most recently, it played in the Nationale 1 division, which is the French third tier. It has finished 8th and 11th over the last two seasons.