In the realm of rugby, Monaco was once not seen as a powerhouse, but that narrative is shifting. As the Rugby World Cup seized the imagination of fans around the world, Monaco School Rugby embarked on a journey that would see it make some waves on the global rugby stage. This voyage unfolded through a remarkable school rugby tournament.
The picturesque town of Pontlevoy, nestled near Tours in the idyllic Centre-Val de Loire region of France, served as the backdrop for this adventure. Here, the talents of AS Monaco rugby participated in the inaugural Rugby Heritage Cup—a global school rugby competition.
The tournament acted as a magnet, drawing in 700 young rugby enthusiasts aged 13 to 15 from 24 schools across the globe. Amidst the 22 boys’ teams and 18 girls’ teams, traditional rugby giants like New Zealand, Australia, and England shared the limelight with less-heralded challengers such as India, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe.
This international sporting event was made possible by the the Heritage Pontlevoy association, championing a unique platform for these young athletes. Thierry Chenet, the association’s president, described it in the press as an extraordinary moment steeped in rugby’s legacy, history, and educational values.
Representing Monaco on this stage were 12 promising young Monégasques, all members of AS Monaco Rugby and students at Charles-III College.
As is customary in prestigious championships, the tournament kicked off with the group stages. Monaco dazzled, securing victories against formidable rivals such as Wales, India, and Italy. This incredible run saw them on the cusp of capturing third position overall midway through the competition with only rugby titans Australia and New Zealand ahead in the general standings. In the quarter-finals, they faced a formidable Irish team, which ultimately emerged victorious with a 3-1 lead in tries scored.
Monaco’s participation alongside the elite teams was a moment of pride for these young players. As Aurélien Lazzaro, the team’s coach, emphasized in the press, Monaco’s finish in the top 8 on the global stage, competing against giants like Australia, New Zealand, and even losing to the formidable Leinster branch in Ireland—an icon of European rugby—is a testament to its achievement. Monaco can hold its head high.
But the competition was far from over; there were still more opportunities for Monaco to shine.
What added a unique flavour to this tournament was an enchanting culinary challenge. The young rugby players changed roles becoming chefs, donning chef hats and aprons to craft regional culinary delights such as Pan Bagnat.
Moreover, these young rugby players displayed their versatility by next stepping into the world of filmmaking. They created a captivating 45-second video centered around a core rugby value.
The much-anticipated results finally arrived, and Monaco’s rugby players eagerly awaited their moment of glory. They were duly awarded the seventh place overall in the competition. Whether they were on the rugby field or in the kitchen, these young Monégasques had left their mark on the global stage.
As the world continues to watch, Monaco’s star is rising higher in the rugby world. Next year’s school tournament is scheduled in Australia. Another exciting chapter awaits these gifted Monaco youngsters.