Stade Rochelais Information
Stade Rochelais History and Highlights
Known also as La Rochelle, they were originally formed as an athletic sports society under Louis Sagot, the club’s first President, who was quickly replaced by Charles Guarrigues. Guarrigues’s hard work and influence helped the team become officially recognized in 1898.
The team were able to play their first game in 1902 after their president-to-be, George Henry Jackson, put his focus on the creation of the rugby team. The game, played on December 21 1902, was a 3-0 victory against Union Sportive Cognacaise.
Just 4 years later, they went on and won their first title in 1906, becoming Atlantic champions by defeating Sporting Club Universitaire Nantais 8-6. They were then eliminated in the quarter-finals of the French Championship by Stade Français in what wasn’t to be the last meeting between the two.
The men in yellow and black would win a third Atlantic title and suffer another quarter-final exit in the French Championship, this time at the hands of Aviron Bayonnais, before the First World War in 1914.
The wars that followed had an incredibly negative impact on sport as a whole, and Stade Rochelais were no different. There were times when, especially in 1940, La Rochelle had been taken by the German army and teams were forced to merge together to save their existence. After the war, rugby soon got back to normal and Stade Rochelais would go on an incredible run of 28 games unbeaten between 1949-1954.
During the unbeaten run, two major developments occurred that would help the club gain acclaim from the people of France and of course, La Rochelle. Laurent Bidart, a 5’4 Fly-half for Stade Rochelais, was selected to represent France in 1953, playing his one and only test against Wales. Bidart made history for the La Rochelle, and was a great example to his teammates and potential players that Stade Rochelais was a club that were being noticed.
Stade Rochelais Recent Achievements
Vice-champions of Europe 2021
In the Champions Cup 2020-2021, the Stade Rochelais of Jono Gibbes and Ronan O’Gara eliminates the English side of Sale (45-21). The Maritimes qualify for the first time in their history for the semi-finals of the European Cup in 2021. The Rochelais then faced the Irish team of Leinster on May 2 and qualified for the Finals with a score of 32-23. In the Finals at Twickenham Stadium in London, the Stade Rochelais then lost to Stade Toulousain (17-22) in front of 10,000 spectators.
Vice-champions of France 2021
The Stade Rochelais eliminates Racing 92 (19-6) in the semi-finals of the French Top 14 championship in Lille. At the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, the Maritimes then lose to the European champion Stade Toulousain (8-18) in the Top 14 Finals.
European Champion 2022
The Stade Rochelais won the Champions Cup in 2022. In the 2021-2022 Champions Cup, the Stade Rochelais eliminated the UBB in the round of 16 after two wins (first leg 13-31, second leg 31-23). In the quarter-finals, the Maritimes beat Montpellier HR (31-19) and Racing 92 (20-13) in the semi-finals.
For the second year in a row, the Stade Rochelle found itself in the European Finals, this time against the Irish side Leinster, four-time European champions and winners of the title in Toulouse. La Rochelle becomes European champion by beating the province of Leinster (24-21)