"Sigh of Relief" - Grenoble Spared Early Relegation Into French 3rd Division - Ruck

“Sigh of Relief” – Grenoble Spared Early Relegation Into French 3rd Division

French Pro D2 club Grenoble, have been spared an early pre-season relegation into the third division, Ligue Nationale. Following a successful appeal, Grenoble will remain in the second tier of domestic French club rugby, despite concerns regarding the a reported €3million debt.

A report from French news outlet Midi Olympique states how Grenoble players and coaches began their pre-season training, despite not knowing whether they will be playing in the Pro D2 or Nationale for the 2023/24 campaign. It is understood that the domestic French rugby bodies were concerned about Grenoble’s financial circumstances, which underwent a review before the club’s status was confirmed for the 2023/24 Pro D2.

Grenoble will begin the 2023/24 Pro D2 on -6 points, but this slight set-back is a welcomed result compared to a possible relegation for the Blues.

It has been a rollercoaster past month for Grenoble, who narrowly missed out on securing their place in the Top 14 season. The Iserois side reached the D2 Championship play-off final, yet were eventually beaten by Oyonnax 14-3. Oyonnax progressed to the Top 14, and Grenoble then later squandered a secondary opportunity to progress.

Grenoble were defeated by Perpignan 33-19, in a ‘Top 14 Access’ promotion-relegation match. As Grenoble ended the D2 season in second place, and Perpignan finished second bottom in the Top 14, the two sides battled for the right to remain in the French top flight. Perpignan eventually re-claimed their spot, with Grenoble then entering fears of a further demotion.

Thankfully, Grenoble will remain in the D2 for the 2023/24 season. The news broke at the club on Thursday evening, and Grenoble captain Steeve Blanc-Mappaz expressed his relief to Midi Olympique (translated from French) “Like all players, I tried not to pollute my mind too much during the holidays, with things that I could not control, trying to play down too.”

“Somehow, I think we took refuge in work throughout the week, to get rid of dark thoughts. But I admit that on Thursday evening, when the President called me to tell me the good news, I felt a hell of a thing inside me.”

Grenoble’s new Manager Aubin Heuber added (translated from French): “Just getting back to training and going day to day. All week, I found the group very receptive, serious, diligent.”