7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
Toulouse is nicknamed 'the pink city' because of its splendid pink brick and white limestone monuments and houses.
The city of 700,000 inhabitants - the fourth-largest in France - lies 60 miles from the Pyrenees and the Spanish border, 90 miles from the Mediterranean coast and 120 miles from the Atlantic coast.
THE CLUB HISTORY
Rugby started up in Toulouse around 1890 when students started up teams on the banks of the river Garonne.
That student association played in the final of the French championship against Stade Francais in 1903 but it wasn't until 1907 that Stade Toulousain was formed when two student clubs merged.
They quickly became a force in the Pyrenees, gaining the title 'Red Virgins' because of a season when they won every match and in 1912 they clinched the first of their 16 French championship titles.
The 1920s were the first real golden age of rugby in Toulouse. The crowds started flooding in and the Stade Toulousain team won no fewer than five French Championship titles between 1922 and 1927, including consecutive victories in 1922, 23 and 24, a run which earns the era the label of the 'Roaring Twenties'.
Go to Toulouse team page
After that, there was a long, dry spell with a number of factors having an effect on Stade Toulousain's success. The club joined a breakaway Union, UFRA between 1930 and 1932 and was then hit by an upturn in Rugby League's fortunes.
The club also lost a lot of players to World War II but then got its winning edge back to win the French championship in 1947. However, the success was a short-lived and, despite reaching the final against Bà¨gles in 1949, the club then fell into a decline that by 1962, almost led then to the point of being relegated to the second division, despite having produced a number of quality players including the legendary Villepreux.
In 1980, Toulouse played Béziers in the French Championship final and despite losing, from that day on, they adopted a strategy for a structure and method that have made Toulouse into a world-beating, record-holding club that they are today.
Between 1984 and 1989, the gameplan conceived by Robert Bru and put into practice by Pierre Villepreux and Jean-Claude Skrela was a revolution for rugby union.
A glorious decade followed, with Stade Toulousain lifting the French championship title on four consecutive occasions between 1994 and 1997, along with the inaugural Heineken Cup in 1996.
Toulouse played in the first ever Heineken Cup game - against Farul Constanta in 1995 **click here for the match report.
Gary Lineker said 'football was invented by British people, but in the end, Germany always wins. So he could have said for French rugby 'rugby was invented by the British, but in the end, in France, Toulouse always win':
They have the record for the most domestic honours in France: 16 times French champions. 1912, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1947, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001.
8 times French Cup winners in 1934, 1946, 1947, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1995, 1998
The ground is called Stade Earnest Wallon, and has a capacity of 18,000.
The club website: www.stadetoulousain.fr
Toulouse is the only club (other than the Irish provinces) that has qualified for the Heineken Cup for all of its eight seasons. They won the inaugural Heineken Cup in 1996, and made it to the semi-finals in 1997, 1998 and 2000.
Toulouse quarter-finalists in the Heineken Cup this season have played 51 European cup games, the same as Munster.
Toulouse have 20 capped players in their squad.
Toulouse have scored the most number of points of any club in Heineken Cup competition. They have scored 1656 points and conceded 1076
They have scored the most tries in Heineken Cup history with 192
With 24 tries, Michel Marfaing has scored the most tries in the history of the Heineken Cup but current club captain Emile Ntamack, is in second place with 22 tries...
Toulouse hold a number of Heineken Cup records: in 1998, they crushed Ebbw Vale 108-16. In that game they scored the most tries in any one game (16); most points in a game (108), and the biggest win margin (+92).
*nb starts correct at the end of the Pool Stages 2002/3)
3 Famous sons.
1. Toulouse Lautrec was so called because his father was the Count of Toulouse. Born in the Toulouse area, he is most famous for his life as a bohemian artist in Paris in the era of the Moulin rouge - http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/toulouse-lautrec/
2. Fabien Barthez - Manchester United goalkeeper http://www.fabienbarthez.net/
3. Claude Nougaro - A famous French singer who still lives on the banks of the Garonne in Toulouse http://www.nougaro.com/
1. The official office of tourism: http://www.ot-toulouse.fr/English/index.html
2. Read about all things Toulouse on http://www.mairie-toulouse.fr/ANGLAIS/Accueil_En.htm
3. Toulouse airport http://www.toulouse.aeroport.fr/