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So how does the French Second division fare?


Played in French Pro D2

By Almo
May 9 2018

It is always a bit dangerous to compare French rugby with English rugby. Although French rugby at club level is on a high, the same cannot be said of the French National Team.  

For many years we have been saying that the Championship is broken. The massive gap in money (and hence standard of play) between the Premiership and the Championship is a major issue. Note that the Premiership is an independent organisation, whereas the Championship is run as a subsidiary of the rfu. So no problem then? Except that the self same rfu that owns the Championship gives massive subsidies to the (independent) Premiership that Championship clubs could only dream about.

 

But instead of continued complaints about this obviously unfair system, I thought it worthwhile to see what is happening "outre-manche" ( French for the the other side of the Channel).

 

In France they have a Top14 which has, you've guessed it, 14 clubs. This is perhaps an issue - the teams/players have difficulty reconciling the number of games with international duty. But they also have another 16 teams at Pro D2 [Update from TTP], which is under the same management as the top flight. Until recently there has been a healthy 2 up 2 down promotion/relegation between the two divisions, meaning that relegation is not the end of the world and teams of history like Bayonne, Biarritz, Grenoble can rebuild and go up to the Top14 with renewed resources. This year they have changed the system so that only the top team in D2 (after play-offs) get promoted and the losing play-off finalists must play the 13th team in the Top14. Seems a bit unfair that a team that has done a season, peaked for semi-final and final play-offs and then has to play another team, ready and waiting, who have played at a higher level all season.

So from my point of view, a bit disappointing that the French model is sort of actually moving towards our system.

But there is some good news. They are moving to a fully-professional third division (I think 20/21) and they also have an initiative whereby teams from the north of France get priority for promotion from their third tier to Pro D2. France has a history of southern rugby teams but nothing much north of Paris, something they want to balance. This is similar to RL encouraging London Broncos, Catalan Dragons and now American teams. Rfu? Status Quo seems to suit the blazers.

 

So, in conclusion: French rugby is by no means an unqualified success that we need to copy. However they have, despite their national team underperformance, a much healthier and sustainable club structure than we have here, in the home of rugby.

 

I hope this article can stimulate some debate and I especially welcome positive thoughts on how the English Championship can move forward.

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TykesRugby.co.uk
So how does the French Second division fare?
TykesRugby.co.uk (IP Logged)
09/05/2018 20:55
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:05:09:20:58:51 by almostatyke.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: So how does the French Second division fare?
JDH (IP Logged)
09/05/2018 22:50
Good article that almost. Light on cheese facts but some great research.
Do they run on the same loses each year as we do? Relying on rich owners like at Toulon to fund them?

On a French note I see Aurelien Rougerie has retired after 19 years and 418 games for Clermont. What a player he was hey and to devote his career to one club, legendary. Saw him play a few times for France, awesome.

 
tomthepom
Re: So how does the French Second division fare?
tomthepom (IP Logged)
10/05/2018 07:43
Yes, interesting comparisons...

The Pro D2 league has 16 teams. We (Jersey) played against Breton side Vannes in pre-season, they were a powerful and efficient side. It ended 38-14, although it was their final pre-season outing and our first (with a much-changed & therefore undercooked squad) due to the fact that their season KOs in mid-Aug. They finished 10th this season and will come to us this July for a return match...

There certainly seemed to be more money at that level, partly due to the crowds - Vannes had 9,000 for their final home game!

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: So how does the French Second division fare?
almostatyke (IP Logged)
10/05/2018 18:47
Thanks TTP, local advice always appreciated.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: So how does the French Second division fare?
almostatyke (IP Logged)
10/05/2018 18:59
Quote:
JDH

On a French note I see Aurelien Rougerie has retired after 19 years and 418 games for Clermont. What a player he was hey and to devote his career to one club, legendary. Saw him play a few times for France, awesome.

Not sure I have ever seen a better centre.

(Sm152)

 
Chilham
Re: So how does the French Second division fare?
Chilham (IP Logged)
13/05/2018 11:17
Good article.

[onceawasp.com]

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: So how does the French Second division fare?
leemingtyke (IP Logged)
13/05/2018 16:51
Yeah, very good. Educational for me as I didn't know any of that detail about the French second tier.

 
John R
Re: So how does the French Second division fare?
John R (IP Logged)
14/05/2018 06:08
Thanks Almo, very interesting read.

 
MESSAGES->author
Re: So how does the French Second division fare?
almostatyke (IP Logged)
21/05/2018 23:15
An update on the end of season division two/division one play-off: Grenoble were the losing Division 2 finalists, having been mullered at the scrum by Perpignan. They faced 13th position Top 14 side Oyonnax a week later but had the benefit of playing at home at the beautiful Stade des Alpes, in front of a near capacity 20k crowd.

The result? Grenoble 47 ( 7 tries) Oyannax 22 (3 tries) in what was an exciting, if error-ridden, match. Ben Botica played excellently at 10 for Oyannax but it was not enough.

So the nett result is two clubs up and two down, the play-offs extending the season (and the revenue) but meaning that two teams cannot plan for next season until the middle of May. Also goes to show that the Pro D2 in France is a genuine second tier, unlike the Championship in England.

She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:05:24:19:09:49 by almostatyke.

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