Union Sportive Carcassonne
Stade Albert Domec
US Carcassonne: Is a Move from Pro D2 to Top 14 in the Cards?
US Carcassonne Highlights and History.
Pro D2 club Union Sportive Carcassonne emerged as a cultural phenomenon in the region of Aude in its early days. The club began to give the rugby-crazy populace of Carcassonne a sense of identity in the thriving rugby scene of early 1900s France.
Founding and Early Days
US Carcassonne was established in 1899. It was the first club in Aude that had no military involvement. Émile Génie and Antoine Tallavignes, both coming from aristocratic families, started the club, and initially, they wanted the club to be an exclusive outlet for the elite.
Pay to Play
US Carcassonne members had to play 17 francs per year to make sure only the noble can participate. Ordinary people could not afford to spend that much money on a luxury like rugby. In 1904, the club began to take a more inclusive approach and started to focus on competitive success.
Merger with Étoile Sportive Carcassonnaise
Étoile Sportive Carcassonnaise was USC’s local rival. But soon, the fans and club officials realized there was no room for two rugby union teams in Carcassonne. The clubs had to pool their resources to get success in regional and national competitions.
US Carcassonne too Bourgeois for Merger
The fierce rivalry between the clubs made a merger difficult. While US Carcassonne was seen as a representative of the bourgeois, Étoile Sportive Carcassonnaise was the people’s club. It had an open door for everyone in the society, so that rugby could be enjoyed by a greater portion of the population.
1907: The Merger Finally Happens
In 1907, the clubs finally agreed to a merger, and the fans reaped the reward immediately. Only five years later, the new club represented Carcassonne in the top division of French rugby.
Early Success and Media Attention
Unsurprisingly, the popularity of union rugby skyrocketed in southern France city with USC’s spot in the top division. This saw the local media catch on to the trend, and resulted in much greater rugby coverage. Rugby became the sport of Carcassonne, eclipsing all other forms of sporting activities.
Impact of World War I
Just as the rugby craze was booming, World War I disrupted the flow. However, while the long months of the war did slow down the craze, it did not stop the progress of rugby in Carcassonne.
Rugby Union vs. Rugby League
Unfortunately, US Carcassone eventually lost the rugby center stage to Carcassonne Sports Association, which enjoyed great success at both national and regional levels. The club, currently known as Carcassonne XIII, won the France Championship 12 times and France Cup 15 times.
With this came a shift in the rugby craze, with many loyalties switching from union to league.
US Carcassonne Struggles to Keep Up with Carcassonne Sports Association
US Carcassonne could not achieve that level of success in union rugby. It never won the top-flight championship and won the second division only once. The club only added the first piece of silverware to its cabinet in 1951, when it won the French fourth division.
From Amateur to Pro and Back Again
In 1965, USC players lifted the Languedoc Honneur France Championship. 10 years later, the club enjoyed its biggest success as it became France’s second division champion. In 1982, it also won the Challenge Antoine-Béguère.
1977-1986 First Division Revival
US Carcassonne would spend close to a decade competing in the first division of French rugby between 1977-86. This reignited the long-gone passions for rugby union in Carcassonne, and brought many fans, both new and returning, to the club.
However, the US Carcassonne could not hold onto its position and eventually fell out of the professional tiers.
2010: Promotion to Pro D2
After spending more than 20 years stuck in the amateur divisions, US Carcassonne made a historic comeback to the second division.
Fédérale 1 Championship Victory
In 2010, US Carcassonne secured its spot in Pro D2 after a crucial 24-12 win over Tyrosse in the 2010 Fédérale 1 semi-finals. This qualified it to move back up to the professional ranks.
Following the semifinal win, USC then gave its fans further cause for celebration as it beat CA Saint-Étienne in the final, becoming the French Fédérale 1 champions and taking home the Jean Prat Trophy.
Pro D2 Years
In its first Pro-D2 season, USC finished 10th. In the following season, Christian Labit oversaw the US Carcassonne to a 6th placed finish. At one point in the season, the Carcassonne outfit was a genuine contender for a promotion to Top 14.
Labit is still in charge of USC and guided the club to a 5th place finish in 21/22. This made the club eligible for a playoff spot. But, losing to USO Nevers nipped its Top 14 ambitions in the bud.
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