Stade Dijonnais: Best Players and Team History
Stade Dijonnais History and Highlights.
Stade Dijonnais is a French rugby club competing in the Nationale competition. After a disastrous 2021-22 season resulted in relegation from the first division, it will be competing in the second division of this competition.
History and Early Years
As a separate club, Stade Dijonnais came into existence in 1923. Previously it was a part of Racing Club Bourguignon, a club that had been founded in 1898. They represent Longvic, an Eastern France commune that sits right beside Dijon.
An Early Rollercoaster Ride
The club had been on a rollercoaster ride in the post-Word War era. It played first division between 1946 and 1950, dropped to the second in 1951, only to return to the first division in 1954. However, the team had to return to the second division again in 1957.
Finding its Feet in First Division
In 1959, Stade Dijonnais climbed the ranks to restore its first division status. Stade Dijon remained in the first division from 1959 to 1979, thanks in particular to several generations of remarkable young people.
Le Coupe Frantz Reichel Title
In 1965, Stade Dijonnais won Le Coupe Frantz Reichel, beating Lyon. The players of that formed the backbone of the club between 1965 to 1975. This team rewarded the fans with a consistent run in the top division. In 1971, a Challenge de l’Espérance added grace to the club’s trophy cabinet.
Back to Second Division
In 1979, the club’s 20-year spell at the pinnacle of the French rugby union came to an end. And Stade Dijonnais got relegated to the second division. Up to this point in its history, Stade Dijonnais did not take long to bounce back from relegation. Was history going to repeat itself?
1980: Return to First Division
Stade Dijonnais bounced back thanks to the leadership of player-coach Zlicaric. Back-to-back victories against Blagnac and Langon in the spring of 1980 sealed a return to the Group B of the top division. Once again, Stade Dijonnais’s second division exile lasted no longer than a year. Other than Zilcaric, the 1979/80 Stade Dijonnais team had players like Amiot, G.Savin, Chapuis, L.Felletig, Rivier, Olzack, Chambelland, P.Felletig, Beaupoil, Lhomme, Perrier, Lebœuf, Hérard, and Mourlet.
Stade Dijonais Falls Back to Second Division
Following its return to the first division, Stade Dijonnais held on to its momentum and reached the 1980-81 Group B Round-of-16. However, the momentum was short lived, and the 1981-82 season marked the beginning of the dark years with a relapse in the second division, this time for eight consecutive years.
1991: First Division Return
Thanks to the determination of a new management team and the arrival of some good players, Stade Dijon regained its position in the first division Group B in 1990. And the club immediately proved that it had not come to the first division just make up the numbers.
The club had a run to the Group B final in 1993. But it could not write the perfect ending to an otherwise remarkable story, and it lost in the final against CA Périgueux 9 to 6 on June 13, 1993, at the Vallée du Cher Stadium in Tours.
It then spent three seasons among the elite in 1993-1994, 1994-1995, and 1996-1997.
The Professional Era in French Rugby
Stade Dijonnais later fell down to the A2 division for three seasons before being relegated even further to the lower divisions in 2000, falling victim to the FFR’s decision to trim down the top division gradually.
But this time, the club could not make a quick return to the highest echelon of French rugby and, since its relegation from the top divisions, the club has not made it back.
Relegation to Nationale 2
Since Stade Dijonnais dropped into the third division Nationale division, it has struggled. It rarely challenged the top teams in the division, and another was lurking on the horizon.
The worst nightmare for Stade Dijonnais fans came to a reality in 2022 when the club finished the Nationale 1 season at the bottom of the table. The club will be playing in the National 2 division next season and will be hoping to arrest the slump it has been in over the last two decades.