View Full Version : Pro D2 2010/11 season and lower divisions

M Two One
09-09-10, 06:38 AM
In the second division, things are going to be difficult to predict this season. Let me start by writing that I don't think Albi will make a quick return. Saint-Etienne will find their way back down to Fédérale 1 the same way Lannemezan did last season. Also, this time around Aix-en-Provence will not be spared unless there is another financial loop hole.

Promotion candidates are strong once again. I think Oyonnax will follow La Rochelle and finally earn their way to a place in the Top 14. This is a club that could stick around for some time and even develop into something bigger. I think that Pau will finally find some stability and claw their way back to the Top 14, but it will be difficult. I don't they will will finish second, but rather anywhere from third to fifth. Lyon could surprise me and finish on top, but I think they'll have to wait yet another season.

Expect Carcassonne to quickly establish themselves well as a professional rugby club. It was no surprise despite there being 48 other clubs in Fédérale 1 that last season they easily won and gained promotion to Pro D2. It was only a matter of time as the club had a heavy make over during the past couple of seasons in the lower divisions. A taste of Top 14 with moderate success shouldn't be too far off in the coming years.

Here are my predictions:

Pro D2
01. Oyonnax (c)
02. Lyon
03. Pau (p)
04. Albi
05. Aurillac
06. Tarbes
07. Narbonne
08. Carcassonne
09. Colomiers
10. Grenoble
11. Bordeaux-Bègles
12. Mont-de-Marsan
13. Auxh
14. Dax
15. Aix-en-Provence
16. Saint-Etienne

Fédérale 1 can be difficult to predict since there are so many clubs. The most important thing is to familiarize yourself with as many as you can. Some of them may ring a bell, like Montauban and Bourg-en-Bresse, as well as former powerhouse Béziers.

Last season Carcassonne had no issue cleaning house and winning the Jean-Prat. Saint-Etienne was a huge surprise and honestly off of just about everyone's radar.

There is a new format this season where there are now four groups instead of six. There are also 49 clubs instead of 48 for this season. Lille MRC was originally relegated last season, but DNACG moved them back up. The top four clubs from each group move on the next round to compete for the Jean-Prat, while the bottom three (four in group 4) are automatically relegated to the fourth tier in French rugby union.

Group 1 is fairly weak. Bourg-en-Bresse is the only promotion candidate. I'd like to make a note of Nevers as the club was recently promoted and I expect them to do fairly well from the start. Watch out for them in a few years.

Group 2 has clubs like Béziers and Valence d'Agen. Both should put up a promotion fight, but I doubt either one will succeed. Montauban is also in this group, but after their financial problems their make up has taken a 180. La Seyne could make a push for promotion as well. They're one of my dark horses.

Group 3 contains professional clubs Limoges and Périgueux. Limoges was relegated from Pro D2 a few seasons ago and have struggled to find their way back. They've gone through a make over and look more than ready to find their way back and stay there. Périgueux continues to improve every season and could surprise.

Group 4 has a former powerhouse in Lourdes and many promotion candidates. Tyrosse is a top pick here. The club is a from a town that has a smaller population than their stadium contains seats and yet they have tasted the professional leagues only a few years ago. They remain strong and have some surprisingly skilled unknowns. Cahors could also make a push and I never like to leave out Lourdes even though they have stumbled time and time again to return to prominence. Lannemezan could find their way back to Pro D2, but this group will prove difficult.

Here are my top five clubs in Fédérale 1:

01. Limoges
02. Lannemezan
03. Bourg-en-Bresse
04. Tyrosse
05. Périgueux

09-09-10, 08:44 AM
The only team I know is Pau so they will get my support, kudos for the nice reviews

M Two One
10-09-10, 04:42 PM
Thanks, I actually have a soft spot for Pau because I lived there for a few months at some point in my life.

10-09-10, 04:45 PM
Thanks, good to hear and find a fellow fan.

M Two One
12-09-10, 07:01 PM
Here is a brief recap of this weekend's matches:

Auch Gers continue to decline with a big loss to Mont-de-Marsan. After being relegated from the Top 14 as quickly as they dominated Pro D2 just the season before, the past two seasons have been hell for the small club. Albi narrowly defeated Tarbes in a tight match. Aurillac slammed Aix-en-Provence with a final score of 36-9. Grenoble are starting to pick things up after they defeated Carcassonne.

My pick for promotion, Oyonnax, are climbing the table and look well prepared to take the title at this early stage with their win over Bordeaux-Bègles. Lyon also picked up a win over Dax, but Dax are looking in poor form early on this season. Colomiers defeated Pau by a final score of 33-19. Colomiers are a surprise after floating around at the bottom of the table all of last season. Currently they sit in third place, but it is only three matches in so far. Still, I didn't expect this.

Saint-Etienne are going to make me eat my words after they defeated Narbonne this afternoon. Okay, they didn't impress, but a win is a win, right? The entire club's scoring threat came from a single player, Alexandre Péclier, as he scored 24 points lifting his small club to victory over a former Top 14 club. He is definitely my pick for player of the week.

M Two One
22-09-10, 01:33 AM
I would to see more input in this thread. I know there are some French members on the forum. If you guys watch lower leagues and/or attend matches please feel free to discuss. Here are some quick updates to Pro D2 and Fédérale 1:

Four matches into the season Albi is still first in Pro D2. So far they've had no issues with their opposition. I would to see more input in this thread. I know there are some French members on the forum. If you guys watch lower leagues and/or attend matches please feel free to discuss. Here are some quick updates to Pro D2 and Fédérale 1:

Four matches into the season Albi is still first in Pro D2. So far they've had no issues with their opposition. Lyon and Oyonnax currently trail closely. Pau has moved down the table, but it is early and I still believe that they'll be there in the playoff. There was a draw over the weekend between Grenoble and Bordeaux-Bègles. Seven teams are at the bottom of the table with only one win and it looks like it will be a long and difficult season for Aix-en-Provence as well as Saint-Etienne. The latter having won last weekend with an incredible display from a single player. That will not spare them week in and week out.

In group 1 in Fédérale 1, Bobigny lead the way only two matches in. Bourg-en-Bresse and Orléans are close behind and expect those two to finish on top. In group 2 Béziers are in first place, which is expected, but don't look at them to return to the professional leagues by next season. Valence d'Agen and Montauban are in second and third respectively. Grasse and Graulhet have been disappointing so far with both sitting at the bottom of the table. Graulhet should turn things around soon enough though. In group 3 there are no surprises so far with Périgueux and Limoges leading the way. In group 4 Castanet continue to impress and surprise this season. They were relegation candidates the previous season when they were promoted from Fédérale 2, but proved everyone wrong. Tyrosse are currently in second and former powerhouse Lourdes are in fourth and may be looking to finally turn their luck around. Lannemezan and Cahors have been disappointing early on, but should compete strongly as the season builds steam.

06-10-10, 06:02 PM
Bordeaux played Saracens in pre season and oh **** didn't they give us a fright. We only won by 5 points, so I think they'll be in the Top 14 next season.

06-10-10, 06:13 PM
Lyon have bags of cash if im correct ... so expect them to be there or there abouts at the end of the season.

M Two One
12-10-10, 08:49 PM
Lyon really need a new stadium as their current one holds less than 5,000 spectators. They have the cash and the supporters to fill more seats, so why not spend a little? An update to Fédérale 1, just a few matches into the season and things are quite competitive. Bourg-en-Bresse are still struggling in group 1, while Massy lead the way. Nevers are currently in second and are exceeding my expectations of them so far. No surprises in group 2 with Béziers, Montauban, Valence d'Agen and Blagnac in the top four. La Seyne are not far out and it is early. In group 3, it looks like Périgueux are already looking like promotion candidates. They lead their group undefeated through four with a +152 in points difference. Limoges are disappointing in third and have been struggling defensively. Tyrosse are dominating a tough group 4 and are undefeated through five matches. Castanet and Lourdes have been surprising so far as they sit in second and third place respectively. Saint-Jean-de-Luz are in fourth with Lannemezan just behind them.

16-10-10, 11:18 AM
It seems I'm missing out on some great stuff. Unfortunately I haven't had the chance to watch a game.

Melhor Time
19-10-10, 02:03 AM
Lyon really need a new stadium as their current one holds less than 5,000 spectators. They have the cash and the supporters to fill more seats, so why not spend a little?

They will build a new stadium. This was brought up last season when Lyon almost made the Top 14. They recently hosted Grenoble at Stade Gerland which is 40,000 and hosted three matches at Rugby World Cup 2007. In the match vs Grenoble, Lyon got over 32,000 fans a sign of what is to come in 2011 when Lyon will surely join the Top 14. If they are able to do okay and survive in the Top 14, which they should given the cities size and the teams resources, then I think they will get a similar venue to Montpellier but will still relocate to Gerland for several matches a year.



M Two One
22-11-10, 03:42 AM
That's good to know. LOU have solid resources, but we'll have to see if they can make it to the Top 14. The competition this season in Pro D2 has been fiercer than I've ever seen before and there will definitely be a lot of teams (as many as 10!) in the mix for promotion. Albi have been leading Pro D2 for a few weeks now, but they haven't really been dominant. Only six points separate teams ranked from fourth to eleventh at the moment. I'm sure that will change and a few will drop off as the season wears on, but this shows how competitive it has been so far.


This week I want to point out a team for you all to keep an eye on this season. Stade Phocéen (formerly Marseille Vitrolles Rugby) made a splash last season when they signed Jonah Lomu, but they eventually ran into financial difficulties and ended up being forcibly relegated. With a new image the team has been revived. Jonah Lomu decided to stay on board and with some new signings I figured they would surely help the team gain promotion to Fédérale 1 by the end of this season. However, I did not expect them to be as good as they are. Stade Phocéen is sitting at the top of the table with 8 wins out of 8 games and have scored 357 points while only allowing 28! It may be early in the season, but these stats are massive. Today they racked up a big win over Vinay with a final score of 69 to 6, so keep an eye on this club! Barring another financial breakdown, this team could be in Pro D2 within two or three seasons.

To Fédérale 1 results:

The groups in the third division are starting to unravel to show us what teams will contend for professional rugby in Pro D2 next season. In group 1 there has not been a dominant team, but five teams have been consistent and are shaking things up. US Bressane are disappointing, but they could still compete for a spot in the next round for the Jean Prat trophy. Bobigny and Massy are leading the way, both picking up wins this weekend. Montluçon, Nevers and Dijon are not far behind and will also be in the mix. Outside of those six teams, the other half is hopeless. Orléans are in sixth, but are inconsistent. I expect them to drop down the table soon enough. Mâcon have an outside chance, but I see them finishing mid-table. Finally, unless Suresnes and Cergy-Pontoise can turn things around immediately, both teams can punch their tickets back down to Fédérale 2. Remember that the bottom three (four in group 4) will be automatically relegated!

In group 2 Béziers are looking good. The team has been leading this tough group most of the way and will likely finish on top. It is incredible that they even dropped this far in the French rugby chain to begin with. Nice have been steadily climbing the table with a nice win over Montauban this weekend. Valence d'Agen have been a massive disappointment as they sit third from the bottom. I originally had them in the top four, but it looks like something is wrong here. Lavaur are looking great and could be a big surprise. I originally had them finishing mid-table, but they currently sit in second tied with Béziers with 24 points. Blagnac are continuing their revival after financial problems sent them down to the fourth division a few years ago and I expect them to finish in the top four. Graulhet and Grasse sit at the bottom of this group. I think just about everyone had Graulhet finishing in the top half of this group, but they've been awful. What a shame.

In group 3 Périgueux continue to dominate averaging 38 points per game, but Limoges have begun their expected climb to the top. The rest of the group is also predictable. Vannes, Marmande, Langon and Saint Nazaire make out the rest of the top half. It may be early, but they're all pretty much in order except I originally had Périgueux swapped with Limoges at the top. Saint Médard should finish sixth or seventh by the end of the season while four out of the other five teams will battle it out to avoid relegation. Tours will finish at the bottom of the group.

In group 4 Tyrosse suffered their first loss of the season this weekend against Oloron. Tyrosse still sit at the top of the table five points ahead of second place Castanet and will likely remain there for the rest of this phase of the season. Oloron sit in fifth place and have finally come back to life after two mediocre seasons. Lille have been a surprise and have mixed things up in the top half of this tough group. Former French powerhouse Lourdes will be looking for promotion after decades in the lower leagues, but will have to be more consistent. Currently in sixth, a win this weekend over Castanet is a good start to help establish a top four finish. Basque teams Saint Jean de Luz and Mauléon have been playing better this season and could both finish mid-table or possibly higher. Cahors are the biggest disappointment this season for me as I had them placed third and they are second from the bottom! I believe they will avoid relegation by season's end, but this season is definitely a big blow to their supporters. I'm almost certain that Orthez, Morlaàs and Tournefeuille will be relegated, but the fourth team to join them is still up in the air.

M Two One
27-11-10, 04:45 PM
I hear crickets chirping.

02-12-10, 07:36 PM
I am going on exhcange to Grenoble this january and would love your imput M Two One.

First what games should I be attending... Ones with good history between Grenoble and opposition.

Also is there anything I should know about D2.

Finaly, how much does beer cost at D2 games or does it change based on the stadium?

05-12-10, 12:23 PM
Hi mate,

Good to hear you're heading to France to taste the life over there.
I went to a couple of pre-season games in the South of France in 2004 and 2005. I think a pastis was at that time 2,5-3 EUR. In summer the ultimate drink. I would advice you to have a look around and if T14 tickets aren't that expensive just try to attempt some of them.
Good atmo, good looking French girls and you will have lots of fun.

Good luck

M Two One
08-12-10, 07:22 AM
I am going on exhcange to Grenoble this january and would love your imput M Two One.

First what games should I be attending... Ones with good history between Grenoble and opposition.

Also is there anything I should know about D2.

Finaly, how much does beer cost at D2 games or does it change based on the stadium?

Hey Dougy,

Good to know you'll be spending time in France. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did and hopefully will again in the near future. My wife is originally from France, so that should tell you something! Keep an open mind over there. Be sure to visit every bit of the city and some nearby villages as much as you can.

So, on to rugby; FC Grenoble is a good team to support if you're looking for a French club. First off you'll love Stade Lesdiguières. I suggest looking into the club's history as it is quite interesting. They had long been known as premier rugby side until 1999 when they suffered an epic collapse and eventually slipped into the amateur division. Over the past four years there has been a resurgence and they are now in contention for top flight rugby.

Some matches to catch from January onward are listed below.

Weekend of January 15/16: Grenoble v Tarbes
Notes: I added this one because Tarbes are a good team and it is the earliest quality match for you to catch. If you're looking to attend a few matches, this should be an interesting one to add to your list.

Weekend of February 19/20: Grenoble v Lyon OU
Notes: This is the grand daddy of the season. It is a home match and if you're only going to one, let this be it! They are rivals so be sure to purchase tickets early. Wear your colors!

Weekend of April 2/3: Grenoble v Oyonnax
Notes: This one isn't at home, but if you have the chance to travel you should attend it. Oyonnax is in the same region of France and is about two hours drive from Grenoble. Think of this as a way to view one of the most beautiful regions of France because you will see a lot on your way. You could make stops in Lyon and even cross into Switzerland when you're in Oyonnax to see Geneva. If you want to take public transportation, access the TGV website. There are connecting stops and the full price would only be about 25 €.

Weekend of April 16/17: Grenoble v Aurillac
Notes: The Alpine club against the Massif Central club. Okay they aren't actually big rivals, but at this point in the season important points will be on the line for two clubs that will likely both be hotly competing for a spot in the top five. Do not miss this match!

Sunday May 8: Grenoble v Pau
Notes: This one is also not at home, but there are two good reasons to attend. For one, this is the last match of the season for both clubs and it will all likely be vital. Second, if you ever get the chance to travel far be sure to go visit Pau and the Pyrénées. You will love it. Spring is beautiful in this region so take a leap if you have the finances to do so. A trip to Pau with the TGV is quite pricey and will cost you 120 €, so consider traveling with a group if there are discounts.

Some things to know about the Pro D2? It is a high quality league so keep track! Ticket prices aren't high in my opinion, so plan a few matches for your schedule. There are one or two weekly matches on regular TV in France, so you'll get your fix from around the country to go along with plenty of Top 14 rugby. If you want to watch more rugby matches live, but are strapped for cash check out the clubs from Fédérale 1.

Finally, I'm not sure about the beer prices, sorry. In any case, I hope that this information has helped but don't be afraid to ask any other questions.

08-12-10, 04:55 PM
That was more than enough information, thanks again to both you guys for the information. I plan to attend at least two games, but I am also a big skier so it will be hard for me to make more if the snow is coming down like champagne. Now all I have to do is fine a couple of rugby fans and Ski bums and this exchange will be one for the ages.

14-12-10, 04:39 PM
I hope you will have a great time.

19-04-11, 02:41 PM
im up for narbonne ive got a house there and remember seeing them beat tuolouse when i was younger

lucky number 7
19-04-11, 02:47 PM
Grenoble would be the closest to my grandparents and so they are my team for D1 :)

19-04-11, 02:55 PM
Narbonne closest to where my Parents live

M Two One
03-05-11, 06:50 PM
There is only one week left in the season and no club has secured automatic promotion yet. Albi were dominant early in the season before Lyon started to take off and control the top spot for months. Currently Lyon are at the top of the table only three points above Grenoble. Luckily enough for Lyon they will face soon-to-be-relegated club Saint-Étienne in the final week while Grenoble will face a Pau, a far more difficult opponent. With this information, it is very likely that Lyon have secured the league title and automatic promotion.

If things remain the way they are in the standings, the promotion playoffs will start with Grenoble against Mont-de-Marsan and Albi against Bordeaux-Bègles. Both of these potential matches could go either way considering that these four clubs have been in the top five for a long time now. There is a massive gap between fifth and sixth place in terms of plus/minus differential.

Aside from the promotion playoffs, the relegation battle is also quite intriguing. Aix-en-Provence were relegation candidates since the beginning of the season, but they had a nice run over five matches securing their spot in the league. As of right now they're higher than Narbonne in the standings, which further proves my point that Narbonne is surely waiting to be flushed by next season.

Believe it or not Dax is very close to dropping down to the top amateur division. They're locked with Colomiers in the standings with 50 points but ahead only by plus-minus differential. I think Dax deserves to be dropped considering that many people had them tagged for possible promotion. I had them positioned just outside a playoff spot, but never did I believe they would have suffered so poorly. Narbonne could actually dump them into the lower leagues this weekend, but Colomiers would have to respond with a big win over Carcassonne.

I'd like to point out that Stade Phocéen finished their season in Fédérale 2 undefeated with 22 wins, scoring 1227 points and allowing a mere 117. They surely have promotion and the league title in their sights as the playoffs begin this weekend with first leg matches. You can check out the standings and the playoff picture (phases finales) by clicking here (http://itsrugby.fr/resultat-federale2-2010.html). My predictions are listed below:

Vichy v Arras
Beaune v Gennevilliers
Rennes v Compiègne
Boulogne-Billancourt v Clermont-Cournon
Montélimar v Chambéry
Saint-Raphaël-Fréjus v Vienne
Beaurepaire v ROC
Montmélian v Nîmes
Castelsarrasin v Nîmes
Vallée du Girou v Agde
Lombez Samatan v Decazeville
Argelès-sur-Mer v Rodez
Cognac v Hagetmau
Rochefort v Bagnères
Bizanos v Belvès
Hendaye v Saint-Jean d'Angely

04-05-11, 03:54 AM
It's very enjoyable to watch this competition, the Pau - Lyon game of last week was good fun to see.

M Two One
04-05-11, 04:11 AM
I forgot to mention that the Fédérale 1 promotion playoffs first leg matches begin this weekend as well. I've also put a list of the match ups with my predicted winners in bold and some notes. Clubs that have been relegated to Fédérale are also listed below. I think that Graulhet and (more particularly) Cahors are the only two surprises to drop this season.

http://i56.tinypic.com/hriyxc.jpg Lannemezan v Massy http://i54.tinypic.com/ohkzsm.jpg
Notes: This first match will actually favor the northern club Massy. The club had a lot to prove this season in a weaker group that didn't even contain the best northern-based amateur club this season. Coming out strong from the beginning of the season until the very end, Massy have proven that they can compete for professional status. Still, I wouldn't count out Lannemezan considering that they were in the Pro D2 just last season.

http://i51.tinypic.com/25pu9ol.jpg Nice v Limoges http://i55.tinypic.com/2wr2r8g.jpg
Notes: This is a match up of massive differences. Limoges are a professional rugby club yearning to return to the professional leagues having dominated in their tough group much of the season. Nice on the other hand are just a building club that finished strong. This should still be no contest for Limoges. Expect a blowout.

http://i51.tinypic.com/2yva22p.jpg Lille v Bobigny http://i56.tinypic.com/2r2ukbq.jpg
Notes: The best northern-based amateur rugby club shown that they can not simply survive in the south, but earn a playoff position over bigger clubs such as Oloron and Lourdes. Bobigny have been consistently solid over the past couple of seasons and although I think they deserve more credit, Lille will field the better squad in this first "upset."

http://i54.tinypic.com/14np6kp.jpg Lavaur v Périgueux http://i56.tinypic.com/dnhy0h.jpg
Notes: While I wouldn't sleep on Lavaur, their opponents are my pick to showcase in the Top 14 down the road. Périgueux are a professional club that dominated a tough group only losing the top spot to Limoges for a few weeks because they had played a few less matches. I don't expect a blowout, but it is always possible.

http://i55.tinypic.com/2eg8y8j.jpg Bourg-en-Bresse v Castanet http://i53.tinypic.com/vfv11z.jpg
Notes: US Bressane may be the lower ranked club here, but considering that for months they were floating around the bottom half of the standings in a weak group to end up finish third is astounding. With experience on their side they should take down a surprisingly good Castanet squad.

http://i56.tinypic.com/dmu05d.jpg Marmande v Béziers http://i53.tinypic.com/nvnll0.jpg
Notes: This match could go either way in all honesty. Marmande have remained consistent in Fédérale 1 despite changes within the team, including it's identity, but this is Béziers. The Mediterranean club has won the Brennus eleven times and ply their trade in one of the largest rugby stadiums in the country. Surely they won't remain in the lower leagues for much longer, or will the pressure of living up to their past get to the players?

http://i51.tinypic.com/33kekuo.jpg Dijon v Tyrosse http://i55.tinypic.com/28086d2.jpg
Notes: Tyrosse dominated the toughest group in the league and had no trouble staying on top for the entire season. Expect them to drop Dijon like a bad habit in what could be a massive blowout. This small Aquitaine town club has high hopes.

http://i55.tinypic.com/2ytxzxt.jpg Vannes v Montauban http://i51.tinypic.com/2eppji9.jpg
Notes: This match up favors the Bay of Biscay club. Montauban will be under a lot of pressure to make a swift return to the professional leagues and Vannes will feed off of this. They remained strong through a tough group by beating quality clubs like Limoges and should be more than able to pull off an upset here. The only way Montauban will move on is if their coaching staff can keep the players calm.

Pays du Médoc

04-05-11, 08:53 AM
Hopefully there will be some games broadcasted on Friday and Saturday evening and sunday during the day.

M Two One
08-05-11, 08:30 PM
Here are results from this weekend:

It is official, Lyon have been promoted to the Top 14. I'm not impressed with their victory over Saint-Étienne, nor have I been that impressed the past few weeks with the club. They need to put in a lot of work this summer if they want to survive in the top flight.

Grenoble finished second after they beat Pau 22-6. They will be facing Bordeaux-Bègles in the opening match of the promotion playoffs. Albi will face Mont-de-Marsan in the second match.

At the bottom of the ladder, Colomiers will be joining Saint-Étienne in Fédérale 1 next season. Colomiers managed to get that all-important win this weekend against Carcassonne 35-15, but Dax defeated a terribly disappointing Narbonne side 60-17 to secure their place in the league.

In Fédérale 1 first leg playoff promotion action there were only two upsets from my predictions, those being Lannemezan defeating Massy 29-26 and Montauban defeating Vannes 21-20. I would have loved to watch that second match. There were no blowouts to my surprise, but Périgueux and Tyrosse had no trouble at all with their matches.

In Fédérale 2 there were a few upsets, most notably Lombez-Samatan defeating Decazeville 19-10 and Boulogne-Billancourt defeating Clermont-Cournon 13-6. Stade Phocéen were also given their first scare of the season, at the wrong time I might add, against Montmélian picking up a 37-27 victory. Credit Montmélian for staying that close.

M Two One
02-07-11, 05:26 PM
Béziers won the Jean-Prat and have been promoted back to professional rugby. Joining them in the Pro D2 will be Périgueux. Stade Phocéen also had no issue winning Fédérale 2 and will continue their march towards professional rugby next season. I wonder if the club will eventually merge with Olympique de Marseille as the latter was originally known for it's rugby program, hence their motto.