Starting in 1903, under the coat of arms of the multisports-association bearing the town’s Salamander emblem, the first confrontations took place on Sundays at the Plantier Garden, without changing rooms, stands, or even a referee! The word rugby wasn’t even used yet!
The success of the popular sport in 1908 led to the creation of the Football Club of Sarlat, officially baptized on the 12th of February 1913. The team was now playing on the Pechs pitch, and the Blue and Black became the club’s colors, which they have worn to this day. During the 1921-22 season, under the leadership of Alexandre Rebeyrol, the nearby Madrazès was chosen as the new pitch.
It was only in 1922 that the name Sarlat Athletic Club (CAS in french!) was adopted via democratic decision by the club. The vibrant associative life of the club became a cornerstone of the town’s social, civic, and sporting identity. Drawn together by a love of the game, the years and teams succeeded each other. Their highs, lows, glories, and triumphs may have faded into history with their names, but they built the foundation of a strong team identity.
In 1962, the arrival of Isidore Vidal (nicknamed “Zizi” with his spouse Zezette) marked the start of a golden age for the team. A long and glorious history written off the foot of the 30-year-old arrival from Graulhet. His formidable kick (best scorer in the nation in ‘56 and ‘57) and unerring precision down the field propelled the team to new heights.
During the 1963-64 season, the Rugby School was created under the leadership of Yves Pèlerin. Proprietor of the “Maison des Gazettes” and author of the book Les Marcassins, he held an undeniable and life-long passion for training subsequent generations. His efforts would help build to the deep pool of young talent Sarlat Rugby continues to draw on to this day.
The 65-66 season would go down in the history books as one of the finest for the team. On the 8th of May of that year, after over-time, the team lost to Montluçon 11-9 in the semi-finals. The victors would go on to become the Champion de France, and Sarlat could take pride in coming so close to the top title. Under the presidency of Guy Thouron, the club made it for the first time in its history to the second division.
The 68-69 season witnessed the arrival of choice recruit Christian Goumondie (nicknamed the ‘Goum’s’) from Perigueux, where he had already been crowned with the title of Junior Champion de France. He graced the team with his class and loyalty, remaining to this day one of its most memorable players and personalities; that the Stadium now bears his name is a fitting testament to his legacy.
In 1969/70, the same year that the Pre de Cordy high school opened its doors in Sarlat, guided by Claude Auzou’s coaching, the team would enter at least into the elite of the nation. The decisive game took place in Périgueux against Mussidan on the 5th of April 1970 in front of an unprecedented crowd of thousands. The two regional rivals struggled for dominance over the course of a long, close game; but Sarlat won in the end 9-6. And while they narrowly lost to Montchanin in the quarterfinals, they had already earned their place in the First Division.
In the “C” bracket with Bègles, Saint-Claude, Mont de Marsan, Beaumont de Lomagne our fierce little town fought tirelessly. Only losing to Agen (one of the leading teams of the time) 18-13, and managed to hold onto their position with a victory against Cahors
Nine years later, during the 78-79 season, the club once again earned its way to the top, this time in Groupe B. Under the Salamander stood united Delpeyrat, Arnoul and Fresquet as they took down Valence D’Agen in the first elimination round after a particularly belligerent game. Daniel Bayle (aka “Baylou”) would be chosen for the French Junior Team for the ‘9’ spot. In the next round Sarlat overcame Orleans (26-15) and then, keeping their momentum, beat Genlis 18-12 at Montlucon. The grand adventure would end in the quarterfinals, lost to that year’s champions: the “Shield” - Montelimar.
That year, 5000 spectators gathered at Madrazes to witness a grand face-off. As part of the Grand Slam tour organized by Jacques Fourox the French national team and a selection of players from the region’s teams went toe to toe. On that day, in the presence of the French Rugby Federation president Albert Ferrasse, the French Barbarians Rugby team was created
At the end of the season, after a stellar return game against Bazas, Sarlat was able to qualify in extremis, allowing the team to reclaim their spot in the Federal 2 division, and setting them on the path to glory they travel today!