Bath Rugby looking to taste victory in the 'Prune Capital' of France
Agen, the next opponents for Bath in the Amlin Cup, are one of the great names of French rugby.
Eight times national champions, the team is based in the "Prune Capital" of France, roughly half-way between Bordeaux and Toulouse.
In the "good old" amateur days, the French selectors are said to have gathered in an Agen bar to pick the national team, very much on a "one from your team/one from my team" basis.
Home games for Agen are played at Stade Armandie, a somewhat rustic venue, but one which few Top 14 teams visit with any confidence. Driven on by a fiercely passionate crowd, Agen regularly turnover the top teams on their own patch.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
It’s Agen’s European history which really sets the pulse racing, however. Famously banned from European competition for two years after losing 59-10 to Ebbw Vale in 2002, conceding nine tries in the process, their last Heineken Cup appearance in 2006 was a completely different affair, featuring home and away victories over both Gloucester and Edinburgh.
Unfortunately for Agen they still missed out on a quarter final place to Leinster and, to make matters worse, immediately hit a Top 14 collapse which ended in relegation for the first time in their 100-year history.
Now in their third season back in the top league, their current progress is based on sound teamwork and consistently strong individual performances by No 10 and kicker, Conrad Barnard (South Africa), back row and captain, Jean Monribot (France), and free-scoring winger Saimoni Vaka (Fiji).
British interest at Agen focuses on former Welsh international centre Jamie Robinson and Scottish international prop, Euan Murray, who is on a short-term "medical joker" contract at the French club.
Footnote to travelling supporters: Whatever else you do during your visit to Agen, make sure it includes tasting the local prunes soaked in Armagnac.