Rugby: Monaco U16 Sevens side on tour in South Africa 

Earlier this autumn, 15 Sevens players from Monaco’s U16 side headed to South Africa as part of an exchange programme made possible by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.

Sport is a great uniter, and from 29th October to 5th November, 15 Monaco Sevens players under the age of 16 travelled from the Principality to South Africa for a week of training sessions and matches with local players. 

The trip was about more than just rugby, however. It was also a chance for the young Monegasques to meet and interact with children from another culture and another way of life, some of whom they may have meet at the beginning of 2023, when a South African delegation flew to Monaco for the Sainte Dévote Tournament.  

See more: Rugby: South African team wins Sainte Dévote Tournament

A few days in Johannesburg  

The first leg of the most recent trip was spent getting to know Johannesburg. Of particular interest was a visit to the Kevin Richardson Foundation Reserve about an hour outside the city, where lions, leopards and hyenas rescued from captive-breeding and cub-petting facilities live out their days in a stress-free environment. 

In April 2024, it will be the turn of the Monegasque side to host their South African friends in the Principality. Photo credit: Shaun Roy / Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation

Then to Cape Town  

The team then moved on to Cape Town, where they witnessed the struggles many children have to endure and overcome in order to get an education by meeting with a local organisation, the Atlas Charity.  

“One of the goals of these trips is to allow the children to come into contact with other populations and cultures,” said Thierry Danthez, the Vice-President of the Fédération Monégasque de Rugby. “This is the basis of the project, it is not only about playing rugby, but also about meeting other people and realising their difficulties.”  

A fair bit of rugby was, of course, on the cards and the Monegasque side enjoyed a series of matches while in Cape Town.  

“We played in a township against very disadvantaged children. It was quite striking, and our young people were surprised to see them always smiling, whatever the situation, even though their daily life is not all rosy,” said Danthez.  

The U16s later played against local private schools in the Winesland Tournament, where they were victorious.   

South Africa in Monaco 

The hospitality shown to the Monegasque visitors will not go unreciprocated, with a group from South Africa already planning a trip to Monaco next April for the Sainte Dévote Tournament.  


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Photo credit: Shaun Roy / Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation