Stade Toulousain: Rich in History and French Rugby Titles
Stade Toulousain History and Highlights
French Rugby is home to some of the finest Rugby teams, and Stade Toulousain is known as one of the elite. Founded in 1907, they’ve enjoyed tremendous success; it took them just two years to feature in their first final of the French Championship, albeit ending in defeat.
Fast forward three years later, and they were back in the final and, despite being down by 6 points at half-time, they fought back and defeated Racing Club de France 8-6, securing their first-ever title win. Their achievement was further solidified into legend as they were able to stay undefeated the entire season, earning the nickname ‘The Red Virgin.’
Toulouse’s most successful decade was in the 1920s, despite losing the 1921 Championship season to USA Perpignan. However, this clip on the first hurdle of the decade helped them learn a lesson that would bring them title after title. By the next season, Stade Toulousain had recovered, and it went on to win an incredible five titles, including a treble in 1922, 1923, and 1924, and back-to-back victories in 1926 and 1927.
As glorious as the 1920s were for the men in Red and Black, it would be a little while before the team made another return to the French Championship trophy. After its 1927 title, Toulouse would only go on to win another 4 French Championship titles by the start of the ’90s, 3 of which had come in the ’80s.
With performances now picking up again, Stade Toulousain fans were now hoping for more consistency, and the team delivered in full. The Toulousains went on to win the title 4 years in a row between 1994-1997, and then again in 1999. The success from this era cemented their status as one of Rugby’s juggernauts.
Rugby presidents play a vital role in running a club, and Toulouse has a history of hiring individuals that enjoy longevity. Arguably, the most successful President Toulouse has enjoyed the benefit of having at the club was Jean-René Bouscatel.
A former player, Jean worked at Toulouse for 25 years between 1992-2017 and oversaw success that included 4 Heineken Cup/European Rugby Champions Cup, 9 French Championships, 2 Yves du Manoir Challenges, and 1 French Cup.
With such a vast and successful history to look back on, it would be hard to pick just a single player that stands out well in front of the rest. However, if you were going to make a case for one, you would only have to look back to former French national team captain Fabien Pelous, a 6’6 dominant Lock who played with the club from 1997 to 2009, holding the Toulouse captaincy between 2004-2008.
However, when Toulouse signed Pelous, it was unlikely they expected him to turn out as good as he did. But that did nothing to stop him from becoming not only one of the best-ever players in the club’s history, but also one of the highest capped international players in that position. In total, Pelous represented Stade Toulousain on 222 occasions and led the team to European Cup glory twice, and the Championship title three times.
In the modern day, Toulouse boasts some of the most notable names in the Top 14 competition, with many having the potential to be world-beaters. The standout player by far is Antoine Dupont. The 25-year-old scrum-half signed for Toulouse in 2017, making 76 appearances and scoring a total of 160 points before being awarded the ‘World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year’ in 2021.
His impressive drives at his opponents, quick thinking in challenging situations, and masterful kicking have helped keep Toulouse at a respectable position in games this season.