Toulon set to join French Elite 1 Championship as Leon Pryce’s Montpellier step up to Elite 2

Toulon are set to join the Elite 1 Championship, to take the number of clubs in France’s top domestic league to 11 for the 2021/22 season.

The French Federation invited applications to expand the division earlier this year, and Toulon are currently in the midst of submitting the required paperwork to make the jump.

If successful, they will join champions Lezignan, Albi, Avignon, Carcassonne, Limoux, St Esteve, St Gaudens, Palau, Toulouse and Villeneuve in the top flight.

Next season is set to begin on October 3 2021, with the final round on May 29/30 2022.

Meanwhile, the Elite 2 Championship is expanded from 10 to 12 teams.

Montpellier Sharks, who recently appointed decorated Super League and former Great Britain stand-off Leon Pryce as director of rugby, have stepped up from the National Division alongside Gratentour.

ROUND-UP: When Leon Pryce joined Montpellier Sharks

The Elite 2 season was cancelled last year due to COVID.

The other 10 clubs in the division are Baho, Carpentras, Entraigues, Ille, Lescue, Lyon, Pia, Salon, Villefrance and Villegailhenc.

If Toulon’s bid for Elite 1 is unsuccessful, they will be forced to drop down to the National Division, which is the third tier in France.

The changes are part of new president Luc Lacoste’s bid to professionalise and grow the French game, which has also included improvements to the national team.

MUST READ: Big interview with French Federation president Luc Lacoste

Trent Robinson and Laurent Frayssinous were appointed earlier this year to lead France in to the end of season World Cup.

The plan for the 2021/22 season across men’s, women’s, youth and wheelchair rugby has been presented to the executive board and approved by the steering committee.

Carcassonne have hinted they may be interested in joining Catalans and Toulouse in the RFL system, by joining League 1 within the next five years.

The Canaries finished top of the Elite Championship in 2020/21, but lost in the Grand Final to Lezignan.

1 Comment

  1. Brilliant news for the French. Did they ever get proper compensation from the French Union after WWII and the Union’s traitorous collusion with the Nazi regime? On a level playing field League could rise above Union inside a generation. Brilliant for French player development, great for the national side, how great would it be if any of Australia, France, New Zealand, or England could win the World Cup on their own merits! This is the kind of positive movement, thinking, progress we need in England. Allez Mon braves! (I think, 41 years since I had a French lesson)

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