Monaco rugby juniors to play in Athlone
CAPE Town is returning the favour this weekend as the city hosts the SA-Monaco Rugby Exchange, a programme run in association with Princess Charlene’s foundation which saw young Manenberg players travel to that city-state earlier this year.
The SA Rugby Legends Association, which is hosting the event, said the programme, now in its second year, aimed at promoting rugby among young teens in both nations, but focusing specifically on youngsters from disadvantaged areas here.
The initiative is run in association with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation and the Monegasque Rugby Federation, and this weekend Cape Town will host a representative U16 team from Monaco.
The SA-Monaco U16 rugby tournament is to be held at City Park Stadium in Athlone tomorrow, and will feature teams from the Legends Association’s Vuka Rugby programme.
They will play a roundrobin format in the morning to determine placings in the knockout stages.
“It is a privilege to welcome the Monegasque Federation,” Legends Association president Gavin Varejes said.
“Prince Albert and Princess Charlene have spent significant time, effort and money in bringing our two countries together and forging stronger sporting relationships.”
He said young South Africans had always been welcomed with open arms in Monaco. “So it’s wonderful that we can return the hospitality by welcoming the young team to our shores.”
The Monaco team will also enjoy a private tour of the Springbok Experience, accompanied by a Springbok rugby legend, receive a rugby master class at the Stellenbosch-based SA 7’s rugby academy, and watch the Vuka programme’s Legends Cup finals at UCT today.
Legends chief executive Stefan Terblanche said the exchange also aimed to foster an understanding of different cultures, and give children from both countries the chance to learn more about each other, through rugby.
“Princess Charlene has been a wonderful supporter, and we are working closely to help develop the game she loves dearly in Monaco, as well as to help develop the youth through sport, something she is very passionate about.”
This morning’s U15 Legends Cup at UCT is an extension of the Vuka Rugby league programme, which is played in 96 schools in the Cape Town region. During the weekly games, stand out players are identified and placed in zonal teams to represent their region in the Legends Cup, which takes place during the July holidays.
The Vuka programme has been running for nine years in the Western Cape, and has now being rolled out around the country with the support and backing of the SA Rugby Union.
“Our programmes help nurture and develop talent in areas where rugby is not usually offered as a sport at school, but where lots of potential talent lies. Through Vuka, the Legends Cup and the Legends Iqhawe Week, we are able to help Saru take rugby throughout the country,” Terblanche said.