RC Toulonnais

RC Toulonnais
Full name Rugby Club Toulonnais
Founded 1908 (1908)
Location Toulon, France
Ground(s) Stade Mayol (Capacity: 15,820)
President Mourad Boudjellal
Coach(es) Mike Ford
Captain(s) Juan Smith
League(s) Top 14
2015–16 2nd (playoff finalists)
1st kit
2nd kit
3rd kit
Official website

Rugby Club Toulonnais (French pronunciation: [ʁyɡbi klœb tulɔnɛ]), also known as RCT but usually Toulon) (Occitan: Rugbi Club Tolonenc) is a French professional rugby union club based in Toulon in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. A current participant in the first-tier Top 14 competition, they have won the national competition on four occasions.

Established in 1908, Toulon currently play their home games at the Stade Mayol, although they have begun to take high-profile matches to the 60,000-seat Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, playing one match there in 2008–09 and two in both 2009–10 and 2010–11. The club colours are red and black. Toulon were Pro D2 champions in 2005, but after finishing 14th in the 2005-06 Top 14 season, they were relegated back down. After signing a number of high-profile players, the club made a strong run at promotion in the 2006–07 season, and succeeded in their promotion quest in 2007–08, winning that season's Pro D2 crown with two rounds to spare. They struggled to avoid relegation for much of the 2008–09 Top 14 season, but a late-season surge brought them to ninth place and safety.

Their 2009–10 Top 14 season was more successful, with a second-place regular-season finish and a semi-final place domestically and a runner-up finish in the 2009–10 European Challenge Cup. In 2012, they again advanced to the Challenge Cup final, losing to Biarritz, and advanced to the Top 14 final, losing to Toulouse. In May 2013 Toulon won the 2013 Heineken Cup Final by 16–15 against Clermont Auvergne, and lost the Top 14 Final against Castres in June. They retained the Heineken Cup with a 23–6 win over Saracens in May 2014. They added a historic 3rd win in a row with a 24–18 win over Clermont in the 2015 final.


Rugby Club Toulonnais was founded on 3 June 1908 as a merger of Étoile Sportive Varoise and members of the Stade Varois, a club based in nearby La Seyne-sur-Mer. It took the club 23 years to reach the top of French rugby, when they won the 1931 championship against Lyon Olympique Universitaire (6–3, 2 tries to 1). The players were greeted by 30,000 people when they returned from Bordeaux, where the final had been held.

Toulon remained one of the top French clubs, but they lost four consecutive finals scattered over 35 years (1948, 1968, 1971 and 1985). The 1985 extra-time defeat by Stade Toulousain left them with a lot of regrets, and playing in the most spectacular final ever (36–22) did nothing to alleviate the pain of losing. The Red and Black only waited two more years to finally lay their hands on the Bouclier de Brennus, as they defeated Racing at the Parc des Princes. The third title came in 1992, against Biarritz Olympique, in Serge Blanco's last match and last chance to win the title.

For eight years, Toulon was not particularly successful and were in heavy financial trouble (a 10 million franc deficit) forced the Ligue Nationale de Rugby to demote them to the Second Division in July 2000. The club missed an immediate return the next year, going down in the final to Montauban, as only one club was promoted that year. It took them five more years to do so as RCT went on to win the Pro D2 title. Unfortunately, despite immense popular support (gates averaged more than 12,000), and a lot of enthusiasm, they only managed to win three games out of 26 and were relegated after only a season.

A new president, Mourad Boudjellal, a born-and-bred Toulonnais who made his fortune in the comic strip business, promised to build a huge team. He said: "I invented the Top 15, with a team that could be competitive in the Top 14”.[1] He signed a high number of first-class players, some of them well above 30, like Jean-Jacques Crenca, Yann Delaigue, Gonzalo Quesada and Dan Luger. He created a lot of buzz around the team as he managed to sign former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga, who arrived in Toulon right after the end ot the Air New Zealand Cup on October 26, 2006. The contract was rumoured to be around €300,000 (£200,000), which Boudjellal claimed to pay from his own pocket, for only 8 to 10 matches. In a 2010 interview, Boudjellal would say about his decision to pursue Umaga, "It was incredible, because we were in the second division and I was speaking with the best player in the world. But he said yes and came to play with Toulon."[2]

Boudjellal continued to sign high-profile veteran players, including Australia captain and former all-time international caps leader George Gregan, reportedly paid €400,000 out of Boudjellal's pocket,[3] All Blacks' former all-time scoring leader Andrew Mehrtens,[4][5] and Jonny Wilkinson.

Back in Pro D2 for the 2006–07 season, Toulon finish fourth in the league, putting them in the promotion playoffs for a place in the Top 14, but they lost in the promotion semi-finals 21–17 at La Rochelle. The following season Toulon headed the table from early on, never dropping from the top spot on their way to clinching promotion with two rounds to spare. The 2008–09 season proved to be one of consolidation. Umaga had been handed the coaching reins, but as Boudjellal would later say, "The first season in the Top 14 was very difficult and I learned that Tana Umaga was not yet ready to give up playing – and that he's not a manager."[2] The team managed to survive that season, using a late-season surge to avoid a relegation scare. Toulon had a much more successful 2009–10 campaign, with Wilkinson leading the charge. He would be named the top fly-half of the year in France by leading rugby publication Midi Olympique,[6] and would also be recalled to the England national team. Domestically, Toulon finished second on the league table, losing out to Perpignan for the top spot on a tiebreaker. This finish gave them a spot in the 2010–11 Heineken Cup, and also a first-round bye in that season's Top 14 playoffs. Toulon's domestic campaign ended in the semi-finals with a 35–29 extra-time loss to eventual champion Clermont in Saint-Étienne.

Toulon's Amlin Challenge Cup campaign proved even more successful. They finished top of their pool and advanced to the knockout stage, crushing Scarlets 38–12 in the quarterfinals at Stade Mayol and surviving a hard-fought match against Connacht in Galway 19–12. The win over Connacht meant that Toulon would get their preferred final venue of the Vélodrome on 23 May, where they lost to the Cardiff Blues 28–21, missing out on silverware for the season.

In May 2013 Toulon won the 2013 Heineken Cup Final by 16–15 against Clermont Auvergne.[7]


On the day of his arrival in Paris, on 1 May 1895, just before his first concert, Félix Mayol was met by a female friend at the station, who gave him some lily-of-the-valley, a flower people traditionally exchange on 1 May in France. He pinned it on his lapel, his concert was a success and Mayol, who was superstitious, made the lily-of-the-valley his personal emblem. It was taken up by the rugby club in 1921.


Main article: Stade Mayol

In 1920, its stadium was inaugurated. It is named after Félix Mayol, a very popular concert hall singer from Toulon who had succeeded in Paris in the early 20th century. Shortly after World War I, he purchased what would be the stadium site and donated it to the club. It is one of the few French stadiums to be almost completely surrounded by the city and overlooks the Toulon bay and military harbour in the Mediterranean.


Finals results

Heineken Cup and European Rugby Champions Cup

Date Winners Score Runners-up Venue Spectators
18 May 2013 RC Toulon 16–15 ASM Clermont Auvergne Aviva Stadium, Dublin 50,148
24 May 2014 RC Toulon 23–6 Saracens Millennium Stadium, Cardiff 67,578
2 May 2015 RC Toulon 24–18 ASM Clermont Auvergne Twickenham, London 56,662

French championship

Date Winners Runners-up Score Venue Spectators
10 May 1931 RC Toulon Lyon OU 6–3 Parc Lescure, Bordeaux 10,000
18 April 1948 FC Lourdes RC Toulon 11–3 Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse 29,753
16 June 1968 FC Lourdes RC Toulon 9–9 (aet) Stadium Municipal, Toulouse 28,526
16 May 1971 Béziers RC Toulon 15–9 (aet) Parc Lescure, Bordeaux 27,737
25 May 1985 Toulouse RC Toulon 36–22 (aet) Parc des Princes, Paris 37,000
22 May 1987 RC Toulon Racing Club 15–12 Parc des Princes, Paris 48,000
27 May 1989 Toulouse RC Toulon 18–12 Parc des Princes, Paris 48,000
6 June 1992 RC Toulon Biarritz 19–14 Parc des Princes, Paris 48,000
9 June 2012 Toulouse RC Toulon 18–12 Stade de France, Saint-Denis 79,614
1 June 2013 Castres Olympique RC Toulon 19–14 Stade de France, Saint-Denis 80,033
31 May 2014 RC Toulon Castres Olympique 18–10 Stade de France, Saint-Denis 80,174
24 June 2016 Racing 92 RC Toulon 29–21 Camp Nou, Barcelona 99,124

Challenge Yves du Manoir

Year Winner Score Runner-up
1934 Stade Toulousain
RC Toulon
0–0 (tied, joint winners)
1939 Section Paloise 5–0 RC Toulon
1954 FC Lourdes 28–12 RC Toulon
1970 RC Toulon 25–22 SU Agen
1983 SU Agen 29–7 RC Toulon

European Challenge Cup

Date Winner Score Runner-up Venue Spectators
23 May 2010 Cardiff Blues 28–21 RC Toulon Stade Vélodrome, Marseille 48,990
18 May 2012 Biarritz 21–18 RC Toulon The Stoop, London 9,376

Current standings

2016–17 Top 14 Table
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Diff. Tries For Tries Against Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Clermont 13 8 2 3 378 286 +92 38 29 3 2 41
2 Montpellier 13 8 0 5 318 253 +65 26 21 3 2 37
3 La Rochelle 13 6 3 4 312 265 +47 30 19 3 3 36
4 Toulon 13 7 1 5 336 266 +90 32 25 4 2 36
5 Bordeaux 13 8 0 5 316 297 +19 27 26 1 1 34
6 Castres 13 7 1 5 335 259 +76 29 18 2 2 34
7 Toulouse 13 7 0 6 272 252 +20 25 18 2 3 33
8 Racing 13 7 1 5 291 285 +6 29 24 2 0 32
9 Stade Français 13 6 1 6 338 313 +25 33 26 2 1 29
10 Brive 13 6 1 6 288 341 –53 19 31 0 1 27
11 Pau 13 5 0 8 296 342 –46 27 31 1 4 25
12 Lyon 13 4 2 7 263 298 –35 19 23 1 3 24
13 Bayonne 13 3 2 8 188 341 –153 11 33 0 0 16
14 Grenoble 13 2 0 11 297 430 –193 28 40 1 5 14

If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:

  1. Competition points earned in head-to-head matches
  2. Points difference in head-to-head matches
  3. Try differential in head-to-head matches
  4. Points difference in all matches
  5. Try differential in all matches
  6. Points scored in all matches
  7. Tries scored in all matches
  8. Fewer matches forfeited
  9. Classification in the previous Top 14 season
Green background (rows 1 and 2) receive semi-final play-off places and receive berths in the 2017–18 European Rugby Champions Cup.
Blue background (rows 3 to 6) receive quarter-final play-off places, and receive berths in the Champions Cup.
Yellow background (row 7) advances to a play-off for a chance to compete in the Champions Cup.
Plain background indicates teams that earn a place in the 2017–18 European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Red background (row 13 and 14) will be relegated to Rugby Pro D2. Final table

Current squad

For player movements leading up to the 2016–17 season, see List of 2016–17 Top 14 transfers § Toulon.

2016-17 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Anthony Étrillard Hooker France France
Guilhem Guirado Hooker France France
Jean-Charles Orioli Hooker France France
Levan Chilachava Prop Georgia (country) Georgia
Xavier Chiocci Prop France France
Laurent Delboulbes Prop France France
Florian Fresia Prop France France
Manasa Saulo Prop Fiji Fiji
Marcel van der Merwe Prop South Africa South Africa
Andrew Cramond Lock Scotland Scotland
Andries Ferreira [lower-alpha 1] Lock South Africa South Africa
Juandré Kruger Lock South Africa South Africa
Jocelino Suta Lock France France
Romain Taofifénua Lock France France
Gregory Annetta Flanker France France
Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe Flanker Argentina Argentina
Liam Gill Flanker Australia Australia
Mamuka Gorgodze Flanker Georgia (country) Georgia
Charles Ollivon Flanker France France
Juan Smith Flanker South Africa South Africa
Aidon Davis Number 8 South Africa South Africa
Samu Manoa Number 8 United States United States
Duane Vermeulen Number 8 South Africa South Africa
Player Position Union
Eric Escande Scrum-half France France
Anthony Meric Scrum-half France France
Jonathan Pélissié Scrum-half France France
Sébastien Tillous-Borde Scrum-half France France
Anthony Belleau Fly-half France France
Pierre Bernard Fly-half France France
François Trinh-Duc Fly-half France France
Mathieu Bastareaud Centre France France
Matt Giteau Centre Australia Australia
Maxime Mermoz Centre France France
Ma'a Nonu Centre New Zealand New Zealand
Jimmy Yobo Centre France France
Vincent Clerc Wing France France
Bryan Habana Wing South Africa South Africa
Drew Mitchell Wing Australia Australia
Josua Tuisova Wing Fiji Fiji
Ayumu Goromaru Fullback Japan Japan
Leigh Halfpenny Fullback Wales Wales
James O'Connor Fullback Australia Australia
  1. Andries Ferreira signed as a medical joker until January 2017 for the injured Juan Smith.[8]

Under LNR rules, teams are limited to two players of non-EU nationality on their domestic match-day rosters. However, a large number of players whose primary nationality is outside the EU are exempt from this quota for various reasons.


Notable former players

This is a list of former players in alphabetical order showing nationality and the period played for the club.


Jean-François Tordo


See also


  1. "Umaga, l'incroyable transfert". rugbyhebdo.fr. Retrieved 4 November 2006.
  2. 1 2 Jenkins, Graham (11 August 2010). "Toulon still dreaming big". ESPNScrum. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
  3. "Gregan puts pen to paper with Toulon". Planet-Rugby.com. 22 March 2007.
  4. "Mehrtens agrees to Toulon switch". BBC. 23 May 2007.
  5. "Rugby: Mehrtens signs for Toulon". The New Zealand Herald. 24 May 2007.
  6. Jenkins, Graham (5 August 2010). "Wilkinson hints at Toulon stay". ESPNScrum. Retrieved 11 August 2010.
  7. "Toulon claim Heineken Cup glory". ESPN. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  8. "Un renfort pour le pack Rouge et Noir" (Press release) (in French). RC Toulon. 19 September 2016. Archived from the original on 20 September 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2016.

External links

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