RC Narbonnais: Rising Back from Tragedy to Succeed
RC Narbonnais History and Highlights
RC Narbonnais have a wealthy history to look back on and wear one of France’s most recognisable kits, black and orange. They play at the Parc des Sports et de l’Amitié in front of 12,000.
Founding and Early Years
The club, having been founded in 1907, have survived 2 World Wars with a mixture of success and failure being felt by the fans and the staff involved.
Despite the success the team have gained thanks to the periods in which they arguably dominated, they’ve struggled in recent years to replicate it and survived in the top leagues by the skin of their teeth.
Tragedy and Championship Titles
Just 5 years after being formed, the club succeeded in becoming the champions of Languedoc by defeating their foes AS Perpignan, 3-0. While the future looked bright, the complete opposite occurred. The impact of the First World War hit the team as hard as any other, with 22 members of the squad losing their lives and the future of the club left uncertain.
Miraculously, the club survived and featured in their first championship final in 1932, eventually losing 9-3 to Lyon, something that would be repeated the following year but by a 10-3 scoreline.
Fans were left waiting until 1936 when they reached the final once again, this time profiting on their experience by defeating Montferrand 6-3. It was their first-ever championship win and, despite being Runners-up in 1974, they would only ever win it again in 1979 against Stade Bagnerais, 10-0.
The 1970s: The Golden Years
The championship win topped off what had been an incredibly successful decade for RC Narbonnais. In addition to the French Championship, the club also won the Yves du Manoir Challenge 4 times, as well as being the runners-up of the French championship in 1974.
The End of an Era
Unfortunately, the team couldn’t replicate its success in more recent years. The team’s last title, the Challenge Yves du Manoir, arrived in 1991 and ended an era.
The club, with the success they’ve had in the past, have their own legends that have played an instrumental part in getting the club to where it is today, as well as representing France on the international stage.
Francois Sangalli, a 5’8 Centre, was a Narbonnais player when he represented France in the historic 1977 5 Nations tournament. Sangalli helped the team not concede a single try over their 4 matches and win France’s 6th title. His performances helped put Narbonnais on the map to a lot of other players as the team became an appealing one to join.
Jean-Baptiste Poux: A Narbonnais Academy Graduate
The Narbonnais academy was known for bringing players through it to shine for the team, and on the international stage, too. Jean-Baptiste Poux was an example of this, as he started his career with the men in orange and black, as he worked on his skills and earnt himself a call up by the France squad. He was then transferred to Toulouse where he made 295 appearances and a further 42 appearances between 2001-12.
The Future of RC Narbonnais
Young players at RC Narbonnais, such as 19-year-old Joris Pialot, can now look at the careers of previous players at the club such as Poux’s, and know that making it to the international stage and beyond is possible.
And while the club will be disappointed about the season just gone — which ended in relegation to Nationale 1 — do not be a surprise to see the team bounce back straight away as the youth in their team mature and the more experienced players guide them through the season.