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File: Union Bordeaux Begles
Union Bordeaux Bègles is a French rugby union team currently preparing to join the Top 14, the first level of the country's professional league system.
They earned their Top 14 place by winning the promotion playoffs that followed the 2010–11 season in the second-level Rugby Pro D2. As a new member of Top 14, they are also assured a place in the European Challenge Cup.
They were founded in 2006 as a result of a merger between two Bordeaux clubs, Stade Bordelais and Club Athlétique Bordeaux-Bègles Gironde. They wear claret (in French: bordeaux) and white. They are based in Bordeaux in Aquitaine, and play at the Stade André Moga, in Bègles. The two teams which amalgamated cumulated nine championship titles of France: seven for the Stade Bordelais and two for the Club Athlétique Bordeaux-Bègles Gironde. Since 2006 and the amalgamation, the club competed in Pro D2 until winning the 2011 promotion playoffs.
For several years, the city of Bordeaux suffered from the absence of a leading club, or rather from the competition between the two large clubs of the city, the Stade Bordelais and CA Bordeaux-Bègles-Gironde.
The Stade Bordelais was a large national Rugby team at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century (seven championships between 1899 and 1911), before continuing their life within the amateur championships.
The CA Béglais did not reach soaring highs before the First World War, finally gaining two French Championships in 1969 and 1991 and then taking part in the first European Rugby Cup in 1995. The transition into the new millennium was hard. The club was relegated to the Pro D2 at the conclusion of the 2002-2003 season, then into the Fédérale 1 division, while Stade Bordelais took the opposite direction and reached Pro D2.
In 2005, a plan to merge both clubs was created, in spite of strong opposition by both club's supporters. There was strong insight from former influential players (Serge Simon, Bernard Laporte) who pushed for a result of pooling the assets of the two clubs. One of the arguments frequently employed in favour of fusion was that the local companies did not know which club to promote.
On the 10th of March, 2006, Bordeaux Rugby Metropolis was created. This association gathered a network of local companies eager to imply themselves in the formation of a large club in Bordeaux.
Bordeaux Rugby Metropolis organised in June 2006 the event 'Bordeaux Rugby Quinconces' which brought together 25,000 people and 100 companies during 3 days on the Esplanade of the Quinconces of Bordeaux. Under the influence of the association, the historical dissensions between the two clubs were partly alleviated. A union was sealed, in the shape of a Professional Sporting Public Limit Company (SASP), with the issue of work for a committee made up of six members resulting with members from each of the two clubs (CABBG : Michel Moga, Alban Moga, Raymond Chatenet; Stade bordelais : Jean-Pierre Lamarque, Herve Hargous, Philippe Moulia).
Only the professional squads were actually merged, as each club has kept its youth teams to this day.
The new team took the place of the Stade Bordelais in the Pro D2. The training centre of Bègles is particularly strong and will hopefully provide players to the top grades.
For their first seasons, the team profited from a budget of €3.6 million. Frederic Martini remained one year as the president of USBCABBG before yielding his place to Laurent Marti, entrepreneur bergeracois (Groupe Top Tex, basé à Toulouse) at the start of the 2006 season. The new president has contributed to finalising where the Union's home ground would be (Stage Andre Moga de Bègles), and the unpronouncable name "USBCABBG" which became Union Bordeaux Bègles (UBB) in the spring of 2008. Laurent Marti contributed largely to increase the club's budget, passing it from €3,8 million (euros) in 2007-2008 to €4,2 million (euros) 2008-2009. The ambition is to rediscover the clubs elite form in a short-term (two or three years).
The Pro D2 2010-2011 season, saw the club finish fifth place on the table and gaining a place in the finals. The UBB beat Grenoble (12-19) in the semis, securing their spot in the final against SC Albi. The grand final took place in Agen with the final result going to the Bordealaise (14-21), also seeing them promoted to the Top 14.
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