Valence Romans Drôme Rugby: Merger, Players and History
Valence Romans Drôme Rugby History and Highlights.
US Romans Péage and ROC La Voulte Valence merger
On July 1, 2016, US Romans Péage and ROC La Voulte Valence, two rugby union clubs based in Drôme, joined forces to give birth to valence Romans Drôme rugby, initially representing the cities of Bourg-de-Péage, Romans-sur-Isère and Valence.
In their final seasons, US Romans Péage finished above the relegation zone in Fédérale 1, while ROC La Voulte Valence could not escape the drop. So, the latter was supposed to play in Fédérale 2. On the other hand, US Romans Péage would have continued its mission at Fédérale 1.
Since US Romans Péage was in the higher division, the new club inherited its position. Valence Romans Drôme Rugby played its first-ever season in Fédérale 1’
The debut season was tough. Valence Romans Drôme Rugby picked up only 6 victories as opposed to its 14 defeats. But that return did not ax the club’s Fédérale 1 status. VRDR has Saint-Nazaire Rugby to thank for that, as the Red and Blacks failed to win a single game, giving Valence Romans Drôme Rugby a clear advantage in the relegation battle.
Finding a Name
Prior to the official creation of the club, the general assembly of June 20 of the US Romans Péage came up with the official name of the new club: the “DRoVal XV”, an abbreviation of the terms Drôme, Romans, and Valence.
Nevertheless, this name was never used. Instead, the club became known as the ‘’Valence Romans Drôme Rugby”. At first, the club administrators registered the club with the French Rugby Federation as “RoVal Drôme XV.” Later, officials decided to change the registration to ‘’Valence Romans Drôme Rugby.”
The climb to Pro D2
After surviving its first season, Valence Romans Drôme Rugby climbed up the standings in its second campaign. This time, Les Damiers finished 6th in Fédérale 1, making the fans hopeful of an imminent Pro-D2 promotion.
Not only the fans, but the club hierarchy also started to believe the club was ready for a jump to the second division. After a promising end to the 2017/18 season, VRDR signed Nigel Hunt from FC Grenoble, Théo Hannoyer from US Dax, and Maxime Javaux from CS Bourgoin-Jallieu. Head coach Johann Authier built a team that was a genuine contender for Pro-D2 promotion.
In 2018/19, Valence Romans Drôme Rugby won 24 out of 25 matches. The only defeat came in the Fédérale 1 final against Rouen Normandie. It denied the club of its first piece of silverware and put the icing on top of a stellar season.
However, the club did manage to achieve the core objective of qualifying for Pro-D2. Within its first three years, the club managed to compete in Pro-D2. The fans were in complete disbelief, but it was the truth! Valence Romans Drôme Rugby was in a wonderland indeed.
The fall to Nationale
VRDR could not gain a foothold in Pro-D2. The club could win only three of its 20 matches and finished bottom of the league. Rouen Normandie, the club that had gained promotion from Fédérale 1, also got relegated. VRDR was 18 points behind Stade Aurillacois, which occupied the last safe spot of the 2019/20 Pro-D2 season.
During the offseason, Valence Romans Drôme Rugby brought in Lucas Mensa, Jody Jenneker, and Enzo Sanga. The goal was to go on another exhilarating run like 2018/19, but it turned out to be an even more disastrous season than the previous one. VRDR finished 15th and dropped to the Nationale.