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SA school rugby team shine in Monaco

Written by Ursula Graaff

Sport, arts and culture

Orchards Primary School’s U12 rugby team got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when it was chosen to represent South Africa at a rugby tournament in Monaco, Western Europe, recently.

FRONT (Left to right): Montle Mokgadi, Phemelo Mphahlele, Treasure Ahaiwe (Captain), Kelvin Alvin, Le Mar January BACK (Left to right): Selwyn January (Head Coach), Thabang Macheke, Mandla Sulupha (Vice Captain), Aubrey Sebati, Olwethu Sibeko, Vuthlarhi Khosa, Lucky Tlhwaele, Elvis Mhlongo (Assistant Coach).The team took part in the 5th edition of the "Saint Devote Rugby Tournament", organised by the Monaco Rugby Federation, in partnership with the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.

The aim of the tournament is to develop the values of rugby beyond the sporting aspect.

The South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) organised the trip for the team. 

Leon van Vuuren, the principal of the Johannesburg school, said that he was happy with the opportunity presented to the boys.

“It was a privilege, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was also during the school holidays so it didn’t clash much with their schooling and class times.

“We grabbed the opportunity with both hands and didn’t think twice about it,” said Van Vuuren.

Before leaving for Monaco the team visited President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria, who wished the boys well.

Team coach Selwyn January said the trip to Monaco was an experience of a lifetime.

The team agrees that one of the highlights was meeting Princess Charlene, a former South African Olympic swimmer, who is married to Prince Albert of Monaco.

“We met Princess Charlene and President of SARLA Gavin Varejes and went go-karting and zip-lining. We enjoyed our tournament,” said team member Kelvin Alvin.

Recalling the first time the boys met Princess Charlene, January said the boys could not contain their excitement.