The History of Castres Olympique rugby club
Source : «100 years of Castres Olympique», by Karim Bénaouda, Editions Privat, 2006
«The oval ball first appeared in local sports in 1898 when the head teacher of the local high school Jean Jaures created a "rugby" section within the school. This was the first time that rugby had been played in the area and the team was known as "la Péruvienne", a fabric made locally and known throughout the world. Several other clubs such as l'Étoile Sportive and l'Union Sportive of Castres soon followed in their footsteps and adopted the game.
It was on the 20th February 1906 that the "pioneers" of the history of Castres Olympique (CO) came together under the leadership of their future president Eugène Agert manager of the store Dames de France (today’s Monoprix). It wasn’t until the 16th April 1907 that the creation of the club would be formalised with its appearance in the "official newspaper".
From 1907 the club was in the second division of the Champions of the Pyrenees league. It benefited from the many talented players from some of the best clubs in France who were assigned to duty in the Castres regiment. They allowed the club to make a name for itself and to be able to get into the first division, the most elite in France today.
Between 1945 and 1948 Castres Olympique got into the top eight teams in the final of the French cup and a year later into the quarter final. It was on 30th May 1948 that the "3 Glorious years" of CO began. That was the year they won the French Cup. On the 15th May Castres Olympique got to the final of the French Championship against Mont de Marsan, and won the famous "le Bouclier de Brenus" (The Brenus shield) for the first time in the history of the club, a win which they repeated the following year against Racing club of Paris.
Following these 3 consecutive victories Castres Olympique went through a lull before resurfacing in the 1990s.
|1949||Champions of France First division|
|1950||Champions of France First division|
|1956||Semi Finalists Championship First division|
|1989||Champions of France Group B|
|1992||Semi Finalists Championship First division|
|1993||Finalists in the Manoir|
|1993||Champions of France First division|
|1995||Finalists Championship First division|
|1996||Champions of France Group B|
|1996||Champions of France Junior |
|1996||Challenge Gaudermen Junior league |
|1998||Finalists European Conference League |
|2000||Finalists European Conference League|
|2001||Semi Finalists TOP 16|
|2002||Semi Finalists H-Cup|
|2003||European Champions Parker Pen Shield|
|2003||Champions of France Reichel|
|2003||Winners of the Challenge Sud Radio|
|2008||Champions of France Reichel|
|2009||Champions of France Reichel|
|2012||Semi finalists Top14|
|2013||TOP 14 Champions|
|2014||Vice-champions of France|
was a butcher originally from Gaillac who started his sporting career as a cyclist and won the regional leg of «le premier Pas Dunlop». He then began his career as a rugby player at Albi and later joined Castres where he was twice named by his peers as the "player of the championship". He was named in 1956 «le Dernier Mohican» (the Last Mohican), the only champion to wear the Castres Olympique shirt. He died the same year in the changing rooms following a match. The stadium is named after him and Jean Pierre-Antoine remains to this day an integral part of the game’s heritage in Castres.
Abbot Pistre, «le Pape du Rugby » (The Pope of Rugby), had a parish : Castres Olympique.
Born in Mazamet in1900, it was during his studies and military service that the future abbot got hooked on rugby.
Following his appointment in the Parish of Saint-Jacques, in Castres, he got involved in the club as manager and also for a short period as the trainer of the first team. He also wrote epic articles in the local sports paper "Le Courrier sportif du Tarn".
It was said of Abbot Pistres that he was "the minister of foreign affairs for rugby". He even brought forward the evening services to be able to arrive on time at his other place of worship, the rugby stadium !
The legendary Abbot Pistre’s famous stories came to a sudden end on 27th January 1981.