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Challenge Yves du Manoir

Overview Honours Roll Sources Current Season


The Challenge Yves du Manoir was officially created on September 21, 1931 by Racing Club de France with the support of two other clubs, Club Athletique Bordeaux Begles and Montferrand. In 1931, twelve breakaway clubs had decided to create their own league (UFRA, Union Française du Rugby Amateur) to protest against violence and covert professionalism which French rugby had sunk into, and which had resulted in the exclusion of France from the Five Nations Tournament that year.

Though Racing Club de France was not one of them and chose to remain loyal to the French Federation, its board considered it had a duty to put the fun back into rugby. Games were often restricted to the forwards, with wings sometimes not touching the ball once in the entire game. Therefore, organizers were very keen to ensure that teams had an attacking style of play, freed from the terse, stressful obligations of championship matches where winning was all that mattered. Special rules were introduced to encourage spectacular play, such as the banning of placed kicks (either penalty or conversion kicks) in order to accelerate the pace. The name of the competition has gone down in the history of French rugby as the epitome of le beau jeu (the beautiful game) and fair play.

Officially, participating clubs were invited by Racing Club de France. Seven of them took part in the inaugural competition. The first two cups were played in a round-robin format. Afterward, round-robin preliminary stages were played before play-offs took the top two teams to the final. The Challenge became the second club competition in France, very much like a cup competition in soccer is second to the championship. As a consequence, le Du-Manoir, as it was nicknamed, became a very sought after title for all French clubs.

The competition bears the name of a young promising French international player from Racing Club de France, Yves du Manoir, who died in a plane crash in January 1928 at the age of 23. There was no competition between 1939 and 1952, a period during which the French Federation launched the Coupe de France.

In 1996-1997, the French Federation took over the competition as Trophée Du-Manoir Coupe de France. In 2001 it became the Coupe de la Ligue, then Challenge Sud-Radio for one year in 2003. The competition died out because of the lack of time available in the year and the development of European cups and international duties for top players.

Since 2004, the Challenge Yves du Manoir has been taken over by Racing Club de France as a youth competition for under 15.

Since 2019, the Challenge is again played by senior teams, the 32 best teams in Federale 1 not qualified for quarter finals.

Paradoxically, Racing Club de France never won this trophy and was runner-up only once.

Honours Roll

Season:WinnersRunners upFormatResult
2018/19Mâcon (1)Union Cognac Saint-JeanFinal19-16
2003/04Castres (1)BourgoinFinal27-26
2002/03La Rochelle (2)BourgoinFinal22-20
2001/02La Rochelle (1)BiarritzFinal23-19
2000/01Montferrand (4)AuchFinal34-24
1999/00Biarritz (2)BriveFinal24-13
1998/99Stade Français (1)BourgoinFinal27-19
1997/98Toulouse (5)Stade FrançaisFinal22-15
1996/97Pau (3)BourgoinFinal13-11
1995/96Brive (1)PauFinal12-6
1994/95Toulouse (4)Club Athletique Bordeaux BeglesFinal41-20
1993/94Perpignan (3)MontferrandFinal18-3
1992/93Toulouse (3)CastresFinal13-8
1991/92Agen (4)NarbonneFinal23-18
1990/91Narbonne (9)Club Athletique Bordeaux BeglesFinal13-12
1989/90Narbonne (8)GrenobleFinal24-19
1988/89Narbonne (7)BiarritzFinal18-12
1987/88Toulouse (2)DaxFinal15-13
1986/87Grenoble (1)AgenFinal26-7
1985/86Montferrand (3)GrenobleFinal22-15
1984/85Nice (1)MontferrandFinal21-16
1983/84Narbonne (6)ToulouseFinal17-13
1982/83Agen (3)ToulonFinal29-7
1981/82Dax (5)NarbonneFinal22-19
1980/81FC Lourdes (6)BéziersFinal25-13
1979/80Bayonne (2)BéziersFinal16-10
1978/79Narbonne (5)MontferrandFinal9-7
1977/78Narbonne (4)FC LourdesFinal19-19
1976/77Béziers (4)FC LourdesFinal19-18
1975/76Montferrand (2)SC GraulhetFinal40-12
1974/75Béziers (3)AgenFinal16-12
1973/74Narbonne (3)BriveFinal19-10
1972/73Narbonne (2)BéziersFinal13-6
1971/72Béziers (2)MontferrandFinal37-6
1970/71Dax (4)ToulouseFinal18-8
1969/70Toulon (2)AgenFinal25-22
1968/69Dax (3)GrenobleFinal24-12
1967/68Narbonne (1)DaxFinal14-6
1966/67FC Lourdes (5)NarbonneFinal9-3
1965/66FC Lourdes (4)Mont de MarsanFinal16-6
1964/65US Cognac (1)PerpignanFinal5-3
1963/64Béziers (1)PauFinal6-3
1962/63Agen (2)BriveFinal11-0
1961/62Mont de Marsan (3)PauFinal14-9
1960/61Mont de Marsan (2)BéziersFinal17-8
1959/60Mont de Marsan (1)BéziersFinal9-9
1958/59Dax (2)PauFinal12-8
1957/58SC Mazamet (1)Mont de MarsanFinal3-0
1956/57Dax (1)MontferrandFinal5-5
1955/56FC Lourdes (3)PerpignanFinal3-0
1954/55Perpignan (2)SC MazametFinal22-11
1953/54FC Lourdes (2)ToulonFinal28-12
1952/53FC Lourdes (1)PauFinal8-0
1951/52Pau (2)Racing Club de FranceRound Robin 
1938/39Pau (1)ToulonFinal5-0
1937/38Montferrand (1)PerpignanFinal23-10
1936/37Biarritz (1)PerpignanFinal3-0
1935/36Bayonne (1)PerpignanFinal9-3
1934/35Perpignan (1)MontferrandFinal6-0
1933/34Toulon (1)
Toulouse (1)
1932/33Lyon OU (1)AgenRound Robin 
1931/32Agen (1)Lyon OURound Robin 


www.ffr.fr - French rugby union site
images.expressdumidi.bibliotheque.toulouse.fr - Express du Midi digitalized editions
images.midi.bibliotheque.toulouse.fr - Midi Socialiste digitalized editions
gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb328123058 - Le Matin digitalized editions
gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb34519208g - Paris-soir digitalized editions
fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challenge_Yves_du_Manoir - Wikipedia pages about Challenge Yves Du Manoir
Every site was scanned using also web.archive.org
Many news and results have been taken from the book "Rugby Guide 2009" by François Dubisset.