Sporting Union Agenais
SU Agen: Top 14 Promotion Remains Elusive
SU Agen History and Highlights.
SU Agen started as a passion project for a high school English teacher and a dentist in Agen. Later it became one of the best rugby teams in France, claiming 8 French first division titles. However, the Armandie Stadium no longer sees the highs of top division domination. Agen plies its trade in Pro D2 these days and is trying to work its way back to the heights it previously reached.
Founding and Early Success
Founded in 1908, success started to come along in the 1920s when Agen picked up some impressive wins against the heavyweights of French rugby. It made the semifinals of the French championship this decade and showed all the signs of a club in the ascendency. SU Agen fans started to believe the dream of winning the France championship was not much far-fetched at all.
1930-1950: Championship Victories
1930: First Championship Victory
In 1930, SU Agen clinched its first domestic championship, winning the Bouclier de Brennus shield.
Yves du Manoir Champions
Two years after winning its first Bouclier de Brennus, Agen made history by becoming the first Yves du Manoir Challenge champion. In the ‘30s, Agen established itself as one of the most formidable rugby union sides in France.
In the ‘40s, SU Agen added two more Coupe de France titles to its name. The club also became a regular presence in the top division semifinals. Agen now had won all possible titles on national levels.
1950s: Performance Declines
Entering the ‘50s, Agen had won two French championships, two French cups, and a Challenge Yves du Manoir trophy.
But, the club had a barren run in the ‘50s. It made a few knockout stage qualifications in both the France cup and championships. The final success, however, remained elusive.
The Agenais club would largely catch up over the next three decades with two generations of players who made SU Agen one of the most successful clubs across all major competitions at the national level.
1962-1994: The Golden Years
SU Agen’s golden age spanned from 1962 to 1994. Within these 32 years, SU Agen brought home numerous titles and became the talent pipeline for the France national team. Some of the greatest French players to have worn the French national team jersey represented SU Agen between 1962 to 1994.
SU Agen won three more championships in the ‘60s and won another Challenge Yves du Manoir. Two of the three championship titles Agen had won in the ‘60s came in back-to-back years. In 1965, SU Agen beat CA Brive in the final, and in the following year, it saw off US Dax to retain the title.
The ‘70s decade was not that successful for the club, but it did manage to win another France championship. A Jean Michel Mazas penalty got Agen a close win over AS Béziers in 1976 final.
The 1980s and early 1990s
The most successful period of Agen was yet to come. From 1982 to 1993, Agen won two more France championships. In total, the club played five France championship finals in this period. Between 1981 to 1994, SU Agen scored 573 points in the French top division; no other team scored more.
Recent Years in SU Agen History
SU Agen has not won any national title since the restructuring of French domestic rugby in 1995.
Relegation to Pro D2
In the early years, the club remained competitive. But slowly, it started to fall down the pecking order. In 2007, the club suffered its first-ever relegation.
Top 14 Return
After three years, the SU Agen got back to the Top 14, but it failed to stabilize itself in the division since then.
Return to Pro D2
In the 2020/21 Top 14 season, SU Augen could not win a single game in the division. As a result, it got relegated to Pro D2. With a 13th place finish in the 21/22 Pro D2 season, it failed to qualify for a playoff spot.
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