Union Cognac Saint-Jean-d'Angély Merger and History
UCS Rugby History and Highlights.
Union Cognac Saint-Jean-d’Angély was born in 2017, when US Cognac and RAC Angérien merged together. Since those clubs came from two different communes, Cognac and Saint-Jean-d’Angély, UCS represents both.
History: US Cognac and Rugby Athletic Club Angérien
US Cognac had a richer history between the two clubs that formed USC. Rugby Athletic Club Angérien did not have any silverware to its name. Since the club was founded in 1943, it never got to ascend above the third division. Since the 2000s, Rugby Athletic Club Angérien had been hovering around the Fédérale levels.
On the contrary, US Cognac was a former French first division runner-up and a Challenge Yves du Manoir champion. USC founders established the club in 1899. Union Sportive Cognacaise was the first rugby team in Cognac.
Before World War II, USC frequently moved between the first and second divisions. It made two second division final appearances in 1934 and 1937 against Racing Rugby Club de Nice and Sporting Club Decazevillois, respectively.
US Cognac Golden Age
The golden age of the club began a few years after the war had ended. Cognac played in the knockout stages of the Coupe de France in 1948 and the Round of 16 in the championship in 1950.
The club then became a surprise title contender, thanks to the mercurial rise of René Biénès, who became a regular prop and flanker for the France national team as well. The club played the championship semi-final in 1953, only to lose 19-3 to a star-studded FC Lourdes.
The following year, Cognac took revenge on Lourdes by defeating it in a closely fought contest in the semis. The 21-20 win lifted Cognac to the final of the France championship in 1954. Cognac put on another formidable display, but FC Grenoble snatched a 5-3 victory in the end.
The club made Parc des Sports des Cognac a fortress between 1948 to 1970. Despite its remarkable home record, the club could not win the championship. In 1965, the club relished its biggest success as it became the Challenge Yves du Manoir champion.
Decline and Merger
In a story that many begone French rugby clubs would relate to, the club fell into a spiral of bad results and irregularity. Eventually, financial problems knocked on the door. The once-mighty Union Sportive Cognacaise found itself struggling to keep the lights on.
In 2017, rumors began to circulate that US Cognac officials were ready to throw in the towel and go for a merger. The speculations grew stronger and stronger until they turned into reality on April 4, 2017.
RAC Angérien and US Cognac became a single entity by the name of Union Cognac Saint-Jean-d’Angély. At junior levels, US Cognac and RAC Angérien still have separate teams, though.
Union Cognac Saint-Jean-d’Angély
For its inaugural season, the UCS got drafted into the Fédérale 1. In its maiden regular season, the club finished top of its pool. UCS made it to the quarters, where CS Vienna knocked it out. The club could not replicate its success in the following season, however, as it finished third in its pool, a step below the last qualification spot.
In the 2019/20 season, the coronavirus pandemic led to the premature end of many sporting competitions around the world, and the Fédérale 1 was one of them. UCS players should consider themselves unlucky for the season to be called off as their team was leading its pool with a massive 8 points lead.
Climb to the Nationale Division
In 2020/21, UCS became a Nationale team. In its first Nationale season, the club finished seventh in the points table. In the recently concluded 21/22 season, UCS endured a much more difficult season and had to rely on a final day victory to ensure Nationale survival.