Stade Niçois Rugby: Updated Club History and Championships
Stade Niçois Rugby History and Highlights.
Rugby has had a longstanding presence in Nice. As a club, Stade Niçois kicked off its journey in 2012, but it represents the legacy of rugby in Nice that goes back more than a hundred years. The Eagles emerged like a Phoenix from the ashes of previous Nice rugby teams. Now, it’s the sole symbol of the Niçoise’s devotion to rugby union.
History of Rugby in Nice
The oval ball first came to the land of Nice through the Racing Rugby Club of Nice. In 1912, the now-defunct club brought rugby union to the rocky shores of Baie des Anges. The local people have been in love with the game ever since.
It’s not the most popular sport in the region, of course. Nowadays, that honor belongs to football. Ligue 1 club OGC Nice is the flagship sports team representing Nice at national levels. But, if you visit Stade des Arboras on a matchday, you won’t find many empty seats. Thousands of fans singing “Issa Nissa” to encourage their team is truly a sight to behold.
French Championships History 1930-2001
Third Division Title
In 1931, RRC Nice won the French 3rd division title beating Association Sportive du Midi 8 to 4 in the final. Three years later, the club enjoyed second division glory at the expense of US Cognac.
1971: Club Begins to Climb
The summer of 1971 marked the beginning of a successful era at the club. RRC took advantage of the conflict RC Toulon was having with its players and poached 8 players from the club. The Herrero brothers, Jean-Claude Ballatore, and Jean-Pierre Mouysset joined the club at this time. These players were instrumental in the club’s future success.
The club immediately reached the final of the Pro D2 and returned to the elite in 1973. It was the club’s first Elite division campaign since 1969 when it won only two out of 14 games. This time, it had a far more honorable return of 10 wins and 4 defeats. But, it could only lead the Nice outfit to a fifth-place finish and it dropped to Group B the following season.
Finishing first in its group, the club immediately returned to the elite the following year and even fought for the Bouclier de Brennus with some of the biggest names in French rugby. After eliminating Avignon in the Round of 16 and La Rochelle in the next round, RRC Nice was eliminated by the future champion of France, Béziers. The same year, Nice won the Challenge de l’Espérance after a victory over Saint-Girons 23-6 in the final.
Nice won the Challenge de l’Espérance again in 1978 and made it deep into the French championships a couple of times. But the club fell into financial troubles and it resulted in a continuous decline of the club. In 2001, the club was dissolved, and Rugby Nice Côte d’Azur replaced it. In June 2012, Rugby Nice Côte d’Azur was also placed in liquidation.
Birth of Stade Niçois
But, rugby in Nice did not stop. It was reborn under a new identity as Stade Niçois was born. The club ushered in a complete rebrand of Nice rugby as it introduced new colors of red, white, and black.
In its maiden season, the club played in Fédérale 3 pool 9. With a second-place finish in its pool at the end of the regular season, Stade Niçois qualified for the knockout stages and reached the Round of 16.
The club progressed to the knockout stages once again in the 2013/14 season. This season, the club succeeded to win promotion to the Fédérale 2. The club played in Fédérale 2 till 2018 and then moved up to Fédérale 1 the following year in the 2019 season.
During the 2020-2021 season, Stade Niçois joins the new Nationale 1 Championship in France. After a first place in the regular season, the Niçois narrowly failed in the semi-final at home against Racing Club Narbonnais.