Bouclier de Brennus

The Bouclier de Brennus, or Brennus Shield in English, is a trophy awarded to the winners of the French rugby union domestic league.

Bouclier de Brennus
BouclierBrennusRugby.png
Awarded forWinning the Top 14
CountryFrance
Presented byLNR
History
First award1892
Most winsToulouse (21)
Most recentMontpellier (1)

The shield was not named, as it is often believed, after the famous Gallic warrior Brennus but rather artist Charles Brennus, co-founder of the Union des sociétés françaises de sports athlétiques (USFSA), the original governing body of rugby union in France. Charles Brennus sculpted the shield himself in 1892, based on an original design from his friend and fellow USFSA co-founder Pierre de Coubertin, the man who founded the modern Olympic Games. The trophy consists of a brass shield and plaque both fixed on a wooden support made of ash. The wooden frame gave the shield its nickname of Planchot, which means "plank" in Occitan (planchòt). The Brennus shield is one of the most recognisable trophies in France and is an integral part of French sporting folklore.

BirthEdit

The Bouclier de Brennus was the brainchild of baron Pierre de Coubertin who recognised the need for a trophy to be awarded to the first winner of the Rugby union domestic league set up by the USFSA, which was, at the time, the organisation in charge of all amateur sporting competitions in France.

As president of USFSA Coubertin went to his good friend Charles Brennus, himself member of USFSA and professional engraver, to have a trophy made for the first final in French rugby history scheduled for the 20th of March, 1892.

The original design was Coubertin's idea, the trophy consists of a brass shield which includes the arms of USFSA as well as the moto "Ludus Pro Patria" (games for the nation), a plaque which would receive the names of the clubs winning the trophy and finally a wooden support made from ash.

Because Charles Brennus was also the president of Parisian club SCUF it was decided that this club would be the legal custodian of the trophy. Up until today tradition dictates that during the award ceremony that immediately follows the final of the French league, the trophy should be given to the winning team by 2 young players of the SCUF club.

TodayEdit

Like other sporting trophies, the Bouclier de Brennus had a very eventful life and by the end of the 20th century was in battered condition. A century of celebrations and resulting mistreatment, including the shield being used as a skateboard on several occasions, had taken its toll. Therefore, from 2003 it was decided that the trophy would be restored and kept in a safe place and that a replica would be made and awarded in lieu from then on.

The inaugural winner of the trophy was Racing Club de France in 1892. Up until 1898 only clubs from Paris could participate in the league; this changed in 1899 when Stade Bordelais (Bordeaux) won the title and became the first club outside of Paris to win the shield. As of today 27 clubs have had the honour to see their name engraved on the hallowed trophy. Clermont Auvergne were the most recent first-time champions, having won their first title in 2010. The most recent champions are Toulouse in 2021, and they have the record of winning titles with twenty-one victories.

Total winsEdit

The following clubs have won the Bouclier de Brennus:[1]

Club Wins Winning Seasons
Stade Toulousain 21 1912, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1947, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2019, 2021
Stade Français 14 1893, 1894, 1895, 1897, 1898, 1901, 1903, 1908, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2015
AS Béziers 11 1961, 1971, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984
SU Agen 8 1930, 1945, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1976, 1982, 1988
FC Lourdes 8 1948, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1968
USA Perpignan 7 1914, 1921, 1925, 1938, 1944, 1955, 2009
Stade Bordelais 7 1899, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1909, 1911
Racing 92 6 1892, 1900, 1902, 1959, 1990, 2016
Biarritz Olympique 5 1935, 1939, 2002, 2005, 2006
Castres Olympique 5 1949, 1950, 1993, 2013, 2018
RC Toulonnais 4 1931, 1987, 1992, 2014
Aviron Bayonnais 3 1913, 1934, 1943
Section Paloise 3 1928, 1946, 1964
ASM Clermont Auvergne 2 2010, 2017
Stadoceste Tarbais 2 1920, 1973
RC Narbonne 2 1936, 1979
Lyon 2 1932, 1933
CA Bordeaux-Bègles 2 1969, 1991
Stade Montois 1 1963
Olympique 1 1896
US Quillan 1 1929
FC Grenoble 1 1954
FC Lyon 1 1910
CS Vienne 1 1937
US Carmaux 1 1951
US Montauban 1 1967
ROC La Voulte-Valence 1 1970 (as La Voulte Sportif)

Winners by seasonEdit

Source: French National Rugby League

 
ASM players parade in the streets of Clermont-Ferrand to celebrate their title, 30 May 2010

ControversyEdit

The 1993 French Rugby Union Championship was won by Castres who beat Grenoble 14-11 in the final, in a match decided by an irregular try accorded by the referee.[2]

A try of Olivier Brouzet was denied to Grenoble[3] and the decisive try by Gary Whetton was awarded by the referee, Daniel Salles, when in fact the defender Franck Hueber from Grenoble touched down the ball first in his try zone. This error gave the title to Castres.

Daniel Salles admitted the error 13 years later.[4]

Jacques Fouroux conflict with the Federation cry out conspiracy.[5]

TriviaEdit

  • Although they are the legal custodian of the trophy, Parisian club SCUF have never won it. The closest the club came was in 1911 and 1913 when it lost the final on both occasions.
  • The original trophy had to be used one last time in 2004 when it was discovered that one of Perpignan's titles was missing from the replica.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Brennus, les 26 clubs sacrés !" (in French). LNR. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  2. ^ "Gerry Thornley: Grenoble's Jackman fast becoming one of top Irish coaches". irishtimes. April 12, 2016. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  3. ^ "Combien de fois Bayonne s'est imposé dans la capitale ?". www.rugbyrama.fr. Midi olympique. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Daniel Salles à propos de Castres-Grenoble en 1993 : " Je me suis trompé "". sudouest. 1 June 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Top 14: Toulon-Castres, souviens-toi, il y a vingt ans..." www.lepoint.fr. June 1, 2013. Retrieved March 25, 2019.