RC Toulonnais

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.

RC Toulon
RC Toulon.png
Full nameRugby Club Toulonnais
Founded13 June 1908; 114 years ago (1908-06-13)
LocationToulon, France
Ground(s)Stade Mayol (Capacity: 18,200)
PresidentBernard Lemaitre
Coach(es)Franck Azéma (General Manager)
Pierre Mignoni (Director of Rugby)
Captain(s)Raphaël Lakafia
League(s)Top 14
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website

Established in 1908, Toulon currently play their home games at the Stade Mayol, although they have begun to take high-profile matches to the 67,000-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 third consecutive win 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 finals scattered over 35 years (1948, 1968, 1971 and 1985). The 1985 extra-time defeat by Stade Toulousain left them with many regrets, and playing a spectacular final (36–22) did nothing to alleviate the pain of losing. The Red and Black waited only 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 were 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 Toulon went on to win the Pro D2 title. But despite immense popular support (gates averaged more than 12,000), and much enthusiasm, they managed to win only three games out of 26 and were relegated after only a season.

Toulon signs star playersEdit

A new president, Mourad Boudjellal, a 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 buzz around the team as he managed to sign former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga, who arrived in Toulon right after the end of the Air New Zealand Cup on 26 October 2006. The contract was rumoured to be around €300,000 (£200,000), which Boudjellal claimed to pay from his own pocket, for only eight to ten 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 2009–10 Challenge Cup campaign proved more successful. They finished top of their pool and advanced to the knockout stage, crushing Scarlets 38–12 in the quarterfinals and surviving a hard-fought match against Connacht 19–12. Toulon got 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.


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.

Charity cross-code matchesEdit

The club has played in cross-code charity matches with a half each of rugby union and football. On July 18th, 2013, they played Olympique de Marseille in the first ever match of the kind at the Stade Mayol to benefit a local charity with Marc Lièvremont and Eric Cantona as the referees in either half, with Olympique de Marseille winning 36–35.[8][9]

Two years later, the club played another such match to benefit a local children's charity at the Stade Mayol against France 98, the charity association team composed of France's 1998 FIFA World Cup winners, and won 33–26. Bernard Laporte served as one of the referees.[10]


Finals resultsEdit

Heineken Cup and European Rugby Champions CupEdit

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 championshipEdit

Date Winners Score Runners-up Venue Spectators
10 May 1931 RC Toulon 6–3 Lyon OU Parc Lescure, Bordeaux 10,000
18 April 1948 FC Lourdes 11–3 RC Toulon Stade des Ponts Jumeaux, Toulouse 29,753
16 June 1968 FC Lourdes 9–9 (aet) RC Toulon Stadium Municipal, Toulouse 28,526
16 May 1971 Béziers 15–9 (aet) RC Toulon Parc Lescure, Bordeaux 27,737
25 May 1985 Toulouse 36–22 (aet) RC Toulon Parc des Princes, Paris 37,000
22 May 1987 RC Toulon 15–12 Racing Club Parc des Princes, Paris 48,000
27 May 1989 Toulouse 18–12 RC Toulon Parc des Princes, Paris 48,000
6 June 1992 RC Toulon 19–14 Biarritz Parc des Princes, Paris 48,000
9 June 2012 Toulouse 18–12 RC Toulon Stade de France, Saint-Denis 79,614
1 June 2013 Castres 19–14 RC Toulon Stade de France, Saint-Denis 80,033
31 May 2014 RC Toulon 18–10 Castres Olympique Stade de France, Saint-Denis 80,174
24 June 2016 Racing 92 29–21 RC Toulon Camp Nou, Barcelona 99,124
4 June 2017 Clermont 22–16 RC Toulon Stade de France, Saint-Denis 79,771

Challenge Yves du ManoirEdit

Date Winners Score Runners-up Venue Spectators
18 March 1934 Stade Toulousain
RC Toulon
0–0 (tied, joint winners) Stade des Iris, Villeurbanne
11 December 1939 Section Paloise 5–0 RC Toulon Parc Lescure, Bordeaux
30 May 1954 FC Lourdes 28–12 RC Toulon Stade Mayol, Toulon
23 May 1970 RC Toulon 25–22 SU Agen Stade Yves-du-Manoir, Colombes
4 June 1983 SU Agen 29–7 RC Toulon Parc des Princes, Paris 5,083

European Challenge CupEdit

Date Winners Score Runners-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
16 October 2020 Bristol Bears 32–19 RC Toulon Stade Maurice David, Aix-en-Provence 1,000
27 May 2022 LOU Rugby 30-12 RC Toulon Stade Orange Vélodrome, Marseille

Current standingsEdit

Pos Team Pld W D L B PF PA PD Pts Qualification
1 Toulouse 20 14 1 5 9 513 344 +169 67 Champions Cup & Top 14 finals
2 La Rochelle 20 12 0 8 8 517 394 +123 56
3 Stade Français 20 11 1 8 9 500 354 +146 55
4 Lyon 20 12 0 8 6 502 459 +43 54
5 Bordeaux Bègles 20 11 1 8 7 455 359 +96 53
6 Bayonne 20 11 1 8 4 483 450 +33 50
7 Toulon 20 11 0 9 4 456 403 +53 48 Challenge Cup
8 Racing 92 20 10 1 9 5 542 560 −18 47
9 Montpellier 20 9 0 11 8 474 441 +33 44
10 Clermont 20 8 1 11 6 437 506 −69 40
11 Castres 20 8 1 11 2 401 512 −111 36
12 Perpignan 20 8 0 12 2 363 557 −194 34
13 Pau 20 6 1 13 7 446 533 −87 33 Relegation play-off
14 Brive 20 5 0 15 6 336 553 −217 26 Relegation to Rugby Pro D2
Updated to match(es) played on 5 March 2023. Source: Top 14
Rules for classification: 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.

Current squadEdit

The Toulon squad for the 2022–23 season is:[11]

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
Teddy Baubigny Hooker   France
Anthony Étrillard Hooker   France
Christopher Tolofua Hooker   France
Kieran Brookes Prop   England
Bruce Devaux Prop   France
Florian Fresia Prop   France
Beka Gigashvili Prop   Georgia
Jean-Baptiste Gros Prop   France
Dany Priso Prop   France
Emerick Setiano Prop   France
Brian Alainu'uese Lock   Samoa
Swan Rebbadj Lock   France
Mathieu Tanguy Lock   France
Adrien Warion Lock   France
Mathieu Bastareaud Back row   France
Jules Coulon Back row   France
Cornell du Preez Back row   Scotland
Facundo Isa Back row   Argentina
Raphaël Lakafia Back row   France
Charles Ollivon Back row   France
Sergio Parisse Back row   Italy
Player Position Union
Jules Danglot Scrum-half   France
Benoît Paillaugue Scrum-half   France
Baptiste Serin Scrum-half   France
Dan Biggar Fly-half   Wales
Mathieu Smaili Fly-half   France
Ihaia West Fly-half   New Zealand
Waisea Nayacalevu Centre   Fiji
Duncan Paia'aua Centre   Australia
Maëlan Rabut Centre   France
Rayan Rebbadj Centre   France
Atila Septar Centre   Romania
Jérémy Sinzelle Centre   France
Cheslin Kolbe Wing   South Africa
Kalani Robert Wing   France
Gabin Villière Wing   France
Jiuta Wainiqolo Wing   Fiji
Gervais Cordin Fullback   France
Aymeric Luc Fullback   France
Thomas Salles Fullback   France

Espoirs squadEdit

The RC Toulonnais Espoirs squad is:[12]

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
Yanis Boulassel Hooker   France
Pierre Damond Hooker   France
Leo Ametlla Prop   France
Tau Junior Fifita Prop   New Zealand
Davit Mcheldidze Prop   Georgia
Mateo Tornel-Rodriguez Prop   France
Yanis Trabelsi Prop   France
Eliott Yemsi Prop   France
Thomas Adelaide Lock   France
Julien Godel Lock   France
Matthias Halagahu Lock   France
Emilio Orsoni Lock   France
Semi Ramacake Lock   Fiji
Mathias Courcy Back row   France
Clement Eigziano Back row   France
Marc Essoh Back row   France
Wendemi Viellard Back row   France
Player Position Union
Ilyes Daoud Scrum-half   France
Arthur Pissot Scrum-half   France
Nathan Azais Fly-half   France
Pierre Hugard Fly-half   France
Thibaut Andral Centre   France
Marius Domon Centre   France
Thomas Fabre Centre   France
Theo Moitrier Centre   France
Louis Morland Centre   France
Karsen Talalua Centre   France
Kalani Robert Wing   France
Alberto Carmona Fullback   Spain

Notable former playersEdit

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



See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Umaga, l'incroyable transfert". rugbyhebdo.fr. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2006.
  2. ^ a b 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. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  4. ^ "Mehrtens agrees to Toulon switch". BBC. 23 May 2007.
  5. ^ "Rugby: Mehrtens signs for Toulon". The New Zealand Herald. 24 May 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 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. ^ "Marseille play Toulon in unusual half football half rugby charity match". Yahoo! Sports. Yahoo. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  9. ^ BeIN Sports. "Match Caritatif Foot/Rugby RC Toulon - Olympique de Marseille [Match Entier]" [RC Toulon - Olympique de Marseille Football/Rugby Charity Match (Full Match)]. YouTube (in French).
  10. ^ Wright, Chris (30 July 2015). "Zinedine Zidane scores immense try in strange football/rugby hybrid match". ESPN UK. ESPN. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  11. ^ "Effectif". Rugby Club Toulonnais (in French). Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  12. ^ "Effectif". Biarritz Olympique. Retrieved 7 November 2021.

External linksEdit