View Full Version : Lyon promoted to Top 14
08-05-11, 08:40 PM
Lyon gained promotion to the Top 14 for the first time on Sunday as a 23-14 win over St Etienne confirmed they would finish top of the Pro D2.
09-05-11, 02:02 AM
Really good news as I see it. The Top 14 is rapidly changing from a South-Western France dominated comp featuring small town of far fewer than 100,000 people to having the countries largest cities with teams. Bas news for the rest of Europe probably. Richer teams, buying more ite players and diong increasingly better in the Heineken Cup.
Seeing Bourgoin replaced by Lyon is great, in my view. True that it is sad to see a historical team go down but whats better Lyon or Bourgoin... easy to answer. Much more potential to be a good team given the exonomic potential. A new stadium was promissed should Lyon make the Top 14. South Western sides, for instance, the likes of Dax, Mont de Marsan, Pau, Beziers, Colomiers, Auch, Albi, Montauban have all come and gone with larger sides rising. Look at Toulon and Racing Metro. Agen and Brive struggled this season. Biarritz and Castres are doing well but will certainly be aware of the changing shape of French rugby. Of course, its not 100% perfect in this regard as La Rochelle lasted only one season in the Top 14.
Lyon will be joined with the winner of Grenoble, Bordeaux, Albi and Mont de Marsan. Two big cities and two small.
M Two One
09-05-11, 04:22 AM
I am sad to see Bourgoin relegated, but based on their situation it is for the best. Also, Lyon will not build a new stadium. They will be moving into Olympique Lyonnais' current stadium once their new complex is complete. The club also has a lot to do this summer if they want to survive as they did not play particularly well the past couple of weeks.
To be honest, one season of final ladder position changes for teams that have pretty much all been in the top two leagues in France for a long time is not going to drastically change everything. The sport has grown in the country and that is a wonderful thing, but looking at the French system in general, southwestern clubs still dominate it. Looking at Fédérale 1 for instance there are so many southwestern teams that some of them spread out to other pools. There haven't been many rising clubs outside of the southwest turning professional over the past decade aside from Saint-Étienne and they were swatted back down without much of a whimper this season.
Some older southwestern clubs have disappeared, but this actually happened back when the sport turned professional. Former giants like Lourdes have settled for Fédérale 1 mediocrity, but others have bounced back and are going stronger than ever this era. Carcassonne is a perfect example of this. They were an older club down in the fifth division of France only a few years ago and moved up quickly through the lower leagues. The thing is that they didn't just claw their way through by grabbing an extra spot each time, they nearly won in Fédérale 3 and then took the title in Fédérale 2. Last season they even dominated the insanely difficult Fédérale 1 by topping their pool and winning the Jean-Prat trophy. This is an incredible feat. First season back in the second division in decades and their first time ever playing rugby professionally and they finish tenth. As they continue to grow rapidly I can assure you they will make their way to the top flight in no time.
Colomiers have not been good since the sport turned professional and have never had much success before that anyway. They've only been back in the Pro D2 for a few seasons after moving back up from Fédérale 1. Dax and Béziers suffered dramatic falls due to poor management decisions and a fallout. These clubs currently have no issues financially and in fact even in Dax's current situation they're only off of Lyon "big budget" by 1,71 million € at this current time. The season before Béziers were relegated they were at the top of Pro D2 most of the season. A fallout caused an epic collapse and it carried into the following season. After an image change they're looking strong to make their way back into the Pro D2 by next season. Auch had a fantastic season not too long ago absolutely crushing Pro D2 and after relegation had a dismal fall in Pro D2. This is a modern trend for French clubs it seems. However, Auch have bounced back and ended up having a strong season finishing sixth with solid wins over Lyon and Grenoble.
Mont-de-Marsan also suffered the promotion and fall not too long ago, but they've also bounced back and are currently in the promotion playoffs. They had a great season and actually beat Grenoble twice this season already. Pau still haven't found their way back to the Top 14 since losing their stars to Biarritz many summers ago. But like Toulon and Racing Métro, both of which struggled to find their way back to the Top 14 for quite some time, they'll eventually find the right formula that works.
Albi is actually one of the better clubs in France and have just run into a bit of bad luck. Finishing third is bad luck for them? No, actually the bad luck is that they have been a yo-yo moving up and down between the top two flights for a few seasons now. Have they dropped far from grace? No. Are they worried? Absolutely not. Their budget continues to climb because they have very successful sales in several areas.
Its great to see Lyon in the Top 14. Hopefully they stay there in the long run. It was good to see em get two 32K+ crowds in the Pro D2 this Season.
Also.. Its been another Record year in Crowds for the Top 14.
After this weekends pool rounds they have a Total of more then 2.6 million and are averaging 14K/match.. Up from Last season which had 2.4 million and a avg attd of 13K+.
Add that with Record Registered playing numbers of 345'000.. and rugby is good in the French land.
All the French need is a RWC win and presto.. Rugby's popularity would just sky rocket in France.
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