US Montauban: Pro D2 Results, Players, and Top 14 Chances
US Montauban History and Highlights.
From winning the Elite division to getting relegated to the amateur levels, Union Sportive Montauban fans have seen it all. The club has gone through many ups and downs in its history, but in recent years, it has come close to making a top-flight return on several occasions.
Founding and Early Years
US Montauban founders started the club in 1903. Just six years after this, the club qualified for the highest division of French union rugby after winning the second division championship in 1909.
Struggles to Stay in First Division
After its 1909 promotion to the first division of French rugby, US Montauban signed talented players like Nelson Moura and Max Courégé. But, it found it difficult to keep up with the rest of the division. In 1914, just ahead of World War I, it finished the season without having won a single match.
1920 Return to First Division
Following World War I, Montauban was readmitted to the top flight of French rugby. However, its time there painted a similar picture to its pre-war stint, and US Montauban struggled, barely holding on to its first division status.
1925: Relegation to Second Division
in 1925, US Montauban was relegated back to Honneur once again. US Montauban did not have to wait long to gain promotion.
1926: Promotion to First Division
After a season in the second division, US Montauban regained its spot in the first division. With club officials excited to make it back to the top division, the club even extended the capacity of its home ground, Sapiac Stadium, to welcome more fans in the stands.
Hopes of improving the club’s top division performance were short-lived, and US Montauban suffered another relegation to the second division in 1929.
Success in the Post-WWII Years
Between its 1929 relegation and the outbreak of WWII, US Montauban made only sporadic appearances in the top division, failing each time to reestablish itself as a formidable force. All of the club’s success came in lower tiers until that point. But, things took a turn for the better after the war.
Louis Blanc Leads US Montauban Ascent
Legendary 3rd line Louis Blanc wore the club’s colors between 1947-1954. He would later come back to play between 1958-1967 and played a vital role in the most glorious moment in the club’s history.
The club started to reach the knockout stages of the Elite division in the late forties. The club also started to sign international players during that period with France national team center Michel Sorondo coming in.
The 60s and 70s: The Path to Winning the National Championship
After barely surviving in the division in 1961, US Montauban picked up its form significantly in the following seasons. In 1962, it finished second in its Championship pool. Between 1962 to 1966, the Sapiac Stadium crowd saw their team lose only four times.
1967: US Montauban Wins its Only National Championship
In 1967, US Montauban won its first and, until now, only French top division title in its history. The 1967 final between Montbaun and Bordeaux is also historic as it was the first one to be broadcast on Eurovision.
Success in Antoine Béguère Challenge
The club had a few more bright moments following that season as it made the Elite division quarterfinals in 1968, won the Antoine Béguère challenge in 1971, and reached Yves du Manoir semifinals in 1972.
1986: US Montauban Face Relegation
After its success in the 1960s and 1970s, US Montauban entered a steep decline. By 1986, the club got relegated to Group B. It would then take the club 12 years to return to professional rugby.
The 2000s: Top 16 and Top 14 Comebacks
The club eventually made a comeback to the top flight of French rugby in 2001 — which was now known as Top 16 — after winning the 2001 second division championship.
The club managed to last three years in the division before getting relegated in 2006. But, the club would make a triumphant return following a Pro D2 championship title. Who could have foreseen that the club would be playing Fédérale 1 rugby five years later?
26 April 2010, the club filed for bankruptcy and found itself back in the amateur ranks competing in Fédérale 1, where it would stay for the coming years.
2014 Return to Professional Pro D2
US Montauban won the Fédérale 1 title in 2014 to get back to professional tiers again. This earned its promotion to the second division Pro D2 competition, where it has competed ever since. And while it looks ready to take on Top 14 again, it narrowly missed out on a play-off spot in 21/22.