The excited energy of the past week has settled into an atmosphere of successful satisfaction as a talented group of U16 rugby players return to Monaco. Welcomed and hosted by The SA Rugby Legends Association (SARLA), the group formed part of the SA-Monaco Rugby Exchange programme, which is run in association with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.
The exchange programme has once more successfully provided young players with an opportunity to play in international tournaments, receive top training and, in addition, introduced them to new countries, cities and cultures. Initiated in 2015 and held in Durban last year, 2018 saw Cape Town play host to the team in this ground-breaking initiative which aims to change lives through positive participation in sport.
The Monaco U16 Rugby Team’s time was jam packed with both training and entertainment. They were extremely fortunate to receive valuable coaching from our very own SA Rugby legends and further, from visiting English women’s Rugby World Cup winner and IRPA special award winner, Rachael Burford. Burford was in South Africa as a guest of SARLA, for coaching sessions with the girls who currently participate in the Vuka Rugby programme as well as some of the senior ladies playing rugby for their respective clubs in and around Cape Town. The players also joined our Vuka players from the Atlantis Region for a specialised training clinic with the England Rugby Team at Rondebosch Boys High.This was held in association with English Rugby Legend, Jason Leonard’s, Atlas Foundation, in preparation for training for the Monaco Incoming Tours 7s Tournament, which was sponsored by JIVE. SARLA further handed over 120 pairs of Puma rugby boots and running shoes to the players from Atlantis who participate in the Vuka Rugby programme proudly supported by The Atlas Foundation.
The tour coincided with the final match of the Springboks Three-Match Test Series against England which truly added to the experience of the tour, both by witnessing a high level of international rugby and experiencing the Mother City’s spirit of rugby fever. The Monaco U16’s had the opportunity to meet the Springboks at an open training session plus members of the England rugby squad, which created immense excitement. In addition, the British High Commissioner, hosted by The Atlas Foundation in conjunction with SARLA, played touch rugby with the players during a fun filled afternoon at Rondebosch Boys High.
The Monaco Incoming Tours 7s Tournament, which was held on the 23 June, included Legends Cup Teams; Highlanders, Cobras, Stallions and Chiefs. The teams invited players from the Monaco team to play alongside them in some of the matches, much to their excitement. Both the boys and girls of Jason Leonard’s Atlantis Highlanders teams emerged the victorious winners of the tournament.
After a busy morning, all players were treated by Nando’s before departing to watch the Springboks and England in the final test series. Stefan Terblanche, SARLA CEO, said that “Witnessing the Springboks and England play was an educational highlight, a once in a lifetime opportunity and all of the players clearly loved the experience.”
The Monaco U16 Team were further treated to an exciting programme during their stay exploring some of the Cape’s tourist and cultural attractions, which included a trip to Robben Island.
Stefan Terblanche, SARLA CEO, said “Hosting the young Monaco players was truly a pleasure. Not only did they play some fantastic rugby but they also received excellent training opportunities and enjoyed several cultural activities. We truly hope that this Tour inspired all of them to continue to strive for personal success, both on and off the field.”