Racing 92's History
Racing 92 History and Highlights.
Racing 92 has an intriguing story to tell. Even though the name ‘’Racing 92;’’ has been in existence since 2015, the club itself has been around for more than a century. The Parisian club has reemerged as one of the powerhouses in French Rugby, having won the French Top 14 in 2016. But, it has had its share of lows.
The Racing Club started its journey in 1882 when organized sports was a privilege only accessible to aristocrats. The club had several sports teams. In 1890, it decided to form a rugby team. Hence, the club we know today as the Racing 92 was born.
It took only two years for Racing to immortalize itself in the history of French rugby. In 1892, the club won the very first French Rugby championships, beating Stade Français. It also gave birth to a fierce rivalry between the two sides that lives on to this day. In 2017, the owners of both clubs agreed to merge and form a ‘’Parisian super club’’, but strong fan protests from both sides forced them to pull the plug.
Racing had to beat Stade Français once again in the next year’s final to defend the title. But, this time, it was Stade who had the last laugh. The club went on to have a spell of dominance afterwards, while Racing had to wait till 1898 to make their next appearance in the final.
Racing managed to reclaim the French championship crown six years after losing it to Stade. Two years later, Racing would lift the trophy once again. This time, it saw off newcomer Stade Bordelais. In 1902, the two sides met in the final again, but Stade Bordelais failed to avenge the loss it suffered two years prior. Another French championship trophy went to Racing’s trophy cabinet.
In the years following the end of the First World War, Racing’s dominance in French rugby started to fade away. The club did not make it to another final until the 1950s. But, it could not give its fans a cause for celebration as Castres Olympique won the final. Another final defeat to FC Lourdes in 1959 inflicted more misery on the Racing faithful. But two years later, the club made a triumphant return to the pinnacle of French rugby as it won the title again.
However, little did its fan know that they would have to wait till 1987 to see their favorite team in the final again. But, their wait for the first Bouclier de Brennus in almost three decades got prolonged as Toulon beat them in the final.
Racing did taste glory three years later, when they beat Agen in the final and reclaimed the throne of French rugby.
Racing boasted one of the most talented and eccentric batch of players the French rugby scene has ever seen between the ‘80s and the ‘90s. They got known as ‘’le show bizz’’ for their antics and entertaining style of play.
After the highs of 1990, Racing endured the most difficult chapters of its history. The club suffered its first relegation in 1995/96. It made a return to the top flight two years later, but went down again in 2000.
In 2001, Racing’s rugby team broke off from the main club and merged with another breakaway rugby division; the US Métro. The club took on the name Racing Métro 92 following the merger.
The change in club structure did not make much change to Racing’s fortune at first. In 2006, real estate tycoon Jacky Lorenzetti took charge of the club and set up an ambitious plan to bring back the club to its glory days.
Racing made it back to Top 14 in 2009, and, seven years later, it won its sixth French championship. Under Lorenzetti, the club made three European finals, but could not overcome the final hurdle to become European champions.