Toulouse Olympique

Toulouse Olympique

Toulouse Olympique are a French rugby league team from Toulouse, in the southwest of France. They were founded on 22 October, in 1937 two years after the founding of the French Rugby League Federation. Between 1995 and 2002 the club were known as Spacers de Toulouse, due to links with the local aerospace industry. They currently play in the Elite One Championship.

The club has played in six Lord Derby Cup finals, but has never won the competition, they have however been champions of France on four occasions, as well as runners-up in five years.

History

In March 1937, the Fédération Française de Rugby à XIII decided to establish rugby league in Toulouse, they bought the Arnauné stadium and formed Toulouse Olympique.

The first match Toulouse played was on 24 October 1937 against Albi. In 1938, Toulouse Olympique merged with another club in the city, Galia Club Toulousain.

In 1939, TO reached the Cup final in France.

During the war years, the club was forced to play rugby union, following the ban on rugby league by the Vichy regime in France.

Following liberation by the Allies and the restoration of the French Championship, the club was on the losing side twice when they met Carcassonne in the finals for the 1944-45 and 1945-46 competitions.

After a decade away from the top, another strong team emerged that included Pierre Lacaze and Georges Aillères.

In 1995, Toulouse Olympique changed their name to Spacers de Toulouse (or Toulouse Spacers) and kept this until 2002.

In 2000, the club won the championship. Toulouse's ambition to join Super League grew but in 2003, their application was rejected by the Rugby Football League in favour of Union Treiziste Catalane.

In 2005 Olympique became the first French club ever to reach the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup, when they defeated Super League side Widnes Vikings 40-24. They went on to lose 56-18 to world champions Leeds Rhinos in the semi-final at the Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield.

The future

In the future, Toulouse Olympique XIII's main objective it to be accepted into Super League. In 2006, the RFL decided to introduce franchising for the 2009 Super League season with the number of clubs being increased from 12 to 14. Toulouse were one of the applicants, but failed to win a license, losing out to the Salford City Reds and the Celtic Crusaders. After the announcement however, the Rugby Football League invited the French Rugby League Federation to nominate a team to enter the second tier National League One for the 2009 season. Toulouse are the obvious favorites for this position, and this will help any potential bid to win a Super League license for the 2012 season.

Squad 2007/2008

Honours

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