Their main goal is the Olympic games!
Emmanuel Falco, President of the Monaco Rugby 7s, unveiled the composition of the team to the local press on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, launching the first ever team in the history of Monaco Rugby Sevens. “It is a beautiful story of enthusiasts who have embarked on a strong human adventure around a common vision,” said Falco. A passion that is shared by both Prince Albert, who is the Honorary President, and Princess Charlene, both former Olympians and eager to welcome rugby in the Principality, a sport that embraces the values of team spirit, solidarity, mutual respect and fair play.
Joining Emmanuel Falco at the press conference were: General Secretary Frederic Michalak who is currently playing for the Lyon OU in the Top 14, Benjamin Lapeyre, player and captain who is a French rugby union player, currently playing for CA Brive in the French top 14, coach Paul Albaladejo, former French rugby at 15 & 7, and Patrice Traore Zeba, team’s physical trainer, a Burkinabe sprinter who competed in the men’s 100 meters at the 1992 Summer Olympics. The club’s human adventure was born from the friendship between Falco and Frédéric Michalak, who over 3 years ago, began to work around the same goals, and counts with the support of generous partners and patrons.
Rugby sevens or sevens, originally known as seven-a-side rugby, is a variant of rugby union in which teams are made up of 7 playing seven minute halves, instead of the usual 15 players playing 40 minute halves. It is administered by World Rugby, the body responsible for rugby union worldwide. It originated in Melrose, Scotland in the 1880s and the Melrose Sevens tournament is still played annually.
When the Ligue National de Rugby (LNR) and the Federation Francaise de Rugby (FFR) decided to create the Supersevens, Monaco was invited to join in. Creating a professional team is the engine and the showcase of this newly launched Olympic project.
Monaco Rugby 7s team
The squad consists of professional 7-a-side rugby players, but in the longer term will include Monegasque players. This professional team is the first phase of a major long-term project with the main objective one day of participating in the Olympic Games. The project is divided in 3 acts: 1) Introduce a 7-a-side rugby sports program in schools; 2) Create a 7-a-side rugby academy to discover and train future talents, where each season talented young players will join a training course; and 3) Form a Monegasque rugby 7s team to represent the Principality at the Olympic Games, confronting with the best nations.
The Monaco club’s overall operating budget is estimated around 3M euros per year, to support both the professional team’s sporting ambitions, the rugby training academy within the ambitious project, with the end goal of participating in the Olympic games. The club is an association, mainly made up of volunteers, benefiting from the support of numerous partners and patrons as well as the use of the country’s infrastructure by the Government. Plus the creation of a Business Club, merchandising and other targeted events will enable the club to offset some of the costs. Additionally the club counts with the partnership with SA Rugby who will help Monaco Rugby Sevens to develop while being inspired by the best.
Monaco will become eligible to organize and host major Rugby Sevens events, including a stage of the In Extenso Supersevens. As an Olympic discipline since 2016, rugby 7 is booming. Widely publicized since the creation of the World Rugby Sevens Series, it has gained ground, attracting crowds and recently established a bridge with the XV. The LNR therefore decided to create the In Extenso Supersevens as the first professional competition among rugby 7s clubs, a veritable rugby festival, with the participation of all the Top 14 clubs, plus Barbarians and of course Monaco.
Baptism of fire this Saturday in Paris!
The adventure will officially start this Saturday, February 1, at 11:06 at the Paris La Defense Arena, for the first match in the history of the Monegasque club competing in the In Extenso Supersevens, with the Monaco Rugby 7s team facing Brive. Let the best team win!
“Rugby is a game all about teamwork and support. To go forwards you must go backwards.”