LOU Rugby against Stade Montois at the Vuillermet Stadium in Lyon, Pro D2 season 2004-2005
Lyon Olympique Universitaire or LOU is a French rugby union team that will compete in the Top 14, the highest level of the country's professional league system, in the 2014–15 season after winning the 2013–14 title in the second-level Pro D2. They were last relegated from the Top 14 at the end of the 2011–12 season, having earned their spot in the Top 14 by winning the 2010–11 Pro D2 crown.
Le LOU, as it is traditionally known, is one of the oldest sports clubs in France and among the first outside Paris to have set up a rugby section. The club’s original name was Racing Club, the result of a merger of the Racing Club de Vaise and the Rugby Club de Lyon. It was renamed Racing et Cercles Réunis in 1902 after several other clubs joined it, then a few months later Lyon Olympique. Finally, in 1910, it became Lyon Olympique Universitaire. The red and black were adopted in 1902.
The club developed several sections (it now has 13), one of the most successful being the rugby union section, which is now known as LOU Rugby. The rugby club took part in three successive French championship finals (1931–33), losing the first one to Toulon (3-6) but winning the next two against Narbonne (9-3 and 10-3). It then played in lower amateur leagues until it was promoted back to the second professional division (Pro D2). In 2006-07, it had the second biggest budget of the championship and its ambition was to rejoin the Top 14 in the next two years, under the leadership of their coach Christian Lanta, who formerly led Racing Club de France, Italian club Treviso and Agen. However, they would not succeed in their promotion quest until 2011.