Rugby is the most popular sport in the Basque Country. With cause: two teams, Biarritz Olympique (Pro D2) and Aviron Bayonnais (Top 14). This competition gathers the best professional 15-player rugby teams in France. Biarritz Olympique was the French national champion in professional rugby in 2002, 2005, and 2006 (H Cup finalist in 2006 and 2010).
15-player rugby originated in the town of Rugby, England. It was brought to France by the British circa 1870. Since then, passion for this sport has never stopped growing in the Basque Country. Initially played in universities—giving it elite status—this sport began to trickle through the social strata until it reached the generalised popularity it enjoys today. Rugby brings people together, no matter what their age or background, and the Basque people are fervent rugby supporters.
The games take place at the Aguiléra stadium in Biarritz and the Jean Dauger stadium in Bayonne. The region is teeming with clubs for children who want to learn the sport.