Legends rugby team does South Africa proud

Pictured from left at the back are, Stefan Sharp, coach; HSH Prince Albert of Monaco; HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco; Gavin Varejes, president of SARLA; Kyle Smith; Stefan Terblanche, CEO of SARLA; Marius Schoeman, South African 7s academy manager; and Pieter Muller, SARLA In the middle are, Lyle Arendse, Clemond Nel, Ethan Thomas, Bevan Meiring, Ewald Te Haar, Louw du Toit, Bongolethu Bawuthi, Luke Slater and Olo Sopotela. In front are, Leejay Petersen and Jadon van der Mescht.

To cap off an exciting week in Monaco, the under-12 South African Rugby Legends team, representing schools in the Boland and Helderberg, took top honours by winning the 2017 Sainte Dévote Rugby Tournament, held in Monaco on Saturday March 18.

The team, selected from a variety of schools in the Western Cape, represented South Africa and travelled to the Principality of Monaco as part of the South Africa – Monaco Rugby Exchange Programme, a joint project with the South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) and the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.

The win was a feather in the cap of the team as they rose to the top over the 14 other under-12 teams from 11 countries that took part in the tournament, which was held at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco.

The South African team’s road to the final was flawless: over the course of all their matches the young athletes scored 45 tries and did not concede a single one. The final saw them squaring off against a Swiss team from Lausanne, where they went on to score six tries and win the game.

Princess Charlene was joined by her husband, Prince Albert of Monaco, and her daughter Princess Gabriella to meet the teams and watch the matches. The day prior to the tournament she spent time with the South African team in a workshop with children from local schools and also held a water safety and basic first aid workshop with the youngsters.

This is just one of the many activities that the team took part of during the week, as they were given the opportunity to experience Monaco and tour its many sights when not training for the big day.

According to Gavin Varejes, president of SARLA, “We are thrilled that our boys have walked away with the trophy this year. They played their hearts out and we are proud of their guts and determination. They are a special group of boys and I am sure that many of them will go far in the game.”

He adds, “So many people contributed to the success of the team – we couldn’t have done it without our sponsors or the support of SA Rugby’s 7s Academy manager, Marius Schoeman, who worked with the boys before they left South Africa. His expertise and skill was invaluable, as was that of our two Legends, Stefan Terblanche and Pieter Muller, and team manager Stefan Sharp.”

This is the third year that South Africa has participated in the Sainte Dévote tournament.

The 2017 team’s win was the result of training and dedication, and is a testament to the power that sport can play in social upliftment.

The team will return to Cape Town on Tuesday morning, and will spend their final day enjoying the tourist attractions in the south of France and Monaco.

For more information on SARLA visit www.sarugbylegends.com or contact Philippa Harvey on 072 879 4077.