Association Sportive Béziers Hérault, often referred to by rugby media simply by its location of Béziers, is a Frenchrugby union club currently playing in the second level of the country's professional rugby system, Pro D2. They earned their most recent promotion as 2011 Fédérale 1 champions, but the club also won 11 Top 14 titles since his establishment in 1911.
Béziers was a major force in French rugby throughout the 1970s and 1980s; however, at the end of 2004–05 season they were relegated to Pro D2. After some years playing in French second division, they finished bottom of the table in 2008–09 and were relegated to amateur Fédérale 1, before returning to Pro D2 after their 2011 title. They are based in Béziers in Languedoc and play at Stade de la Méditerranée (capacity 18,555). The club colors are red and blue.
The club was established in 1911. Their first notable honour was being runners-up in the Coupe de France. However it would not be until the 1960s when the club began its rise to prominence. Béziers made their first championship appearance in the 1960 season. On May 22 they faced FC Lourdes in the final, losing 14 points to 11 in Toulouse. Béziers found mixed success during the 1960s following their first championship loss to Lourdes. The next season they won their first championship, defeating US Dax 6 points to 3 in Lyon. They were also runners-up in the Challenge Yves du Manoir that season. They also contested the domestic championship in 1962, though they lost to SU Agen 14 to 11 in the final. Béziers performed well in the 1964 season as well; losing the championship final to Section Paloise, and winning the Challenge Yves du Manoir.
After the success during the early 1960s Béziers became a powerful club in the 1970s. In 1971 Béziers made it to the final of the domestic championship; defeating RC Toulon 15 points to 9 in Bordeaux. The following season Béziers captured the championship, defeating Brive 9 points to nil in Lyon, and winning the Challenge Yves du Manoir as well. The club won championships in 1974 and 1975, defeating RC Narbonne and Brive respectively, both times at Parc des Princes in Paris. They were also involved in the 1976 final, though they lost to Agen, 13 to 10. The following season they won the championship again, defeating Perpignan 12 to 4 in the final. They also won the Challenge Yves du Manoir as well.
The next season they successfully defended their domestic title; defeating AS Montferrand 31 points to 9 in the championship game in Paris. They however did not win back-to-back Challenge Yves du Manoir titles; though they came close, being runners-up. The success continued in the early 1980s as well, winning the championship of the 1980 season, defeating Toulouse 10 to 6 in the final, as well as being Challenge Yves du Manoir runners-up that season. Béziers repeated this again the next season; actually defeating Toulouse in the championship final again, and were runners-up in the Challenge Yves du Manoir. They were champions again in 1983 and 1984, defeating RC Nice and Agen in the finals respectively. They also won the Coupe de France in the 1986 season.
Béziers returned to the professional ranks in 2011–12 following their 13–6 win over Périgueux in the 2011 Fédérale 1 final on June 26. Both finalists were assured of promotion to Pro D2.
They struggled in their return season in Pro D2, finishing next-to last on the league table and well out of the safety zone. However, when ninth-place Bourgoin were forcibly relegated to Fédérale 1 for financial reasons, Béziers remained in Pro D2 for 2012–13.
Green background (row 1) Champions automatically promoted to Top 14. Yellow background denotes winner of the promotion play-offs. Blue background denotes other teams that qualified for the promotion play-offs. Red background (row 15 and 16) will be relegated to Fédérale 1.
Source:MidolUpdated: 14 April 2014
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