Bob Skinstad Visits Sarlat Rugby: Witnesses Ninth Straight Win and a First for the Women’s team

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Bob Skinstad looks on as Sarlat Rugby takes on S.A Rochefort
Sarlat’s residents and rugby fans from near and far were treated to an exceptional celebration of rugby this weekend. Not only were both the men’s and women’s teams for Sarlat lined up against tough opponents, but South African rugby legend and former Springboks Captain Bob Skinstad was also in the stands to watch! Both teams walked away with strong wins despite fierce opposition.

Sarlat Rugby pulled out all the stops once again for their first home game in almost a month against Rochefort. A traditional meal united supporters, players, families, staff, and sponsors, along with a very special guest. South African rugby star and former Springboks captain Bob Skinstad, whose second career in tech and investment brought him to see what was taking shape here in Sarlat.

It also gave Bob Skinstad a chance to witness the town’s rising rugby talent. The men’s team, Sarlat Rugby, took on a weighty challenger in the form of Rochefort. Deprived of a B-team game by a cancellation from Rochefort’s reserves, the town still got an entertaining opening match, however. This time by the newly created women’s rugby team: the Alabrenas, against Bergerac! Both teams secured crucial wins, and with style!

Bob Skinstad Kicks-Off Sarlat Rugby vs Rochefort 

There was nothing hesitant about Bob Skinstad’s symbolic kickoff before the clash between Sarlat Rugby and S.A Rochefort. Despite retiring from professional rugby after a World Cup win in 2007, the ex-flanker and captain of the Springboks can certainly still kick a ball. Nevertheless, he wasn’t here to play, but rather to observe the project that was taking place, on and off the pitch. 

Sarlat Rugby President Dom Einhorn offers Bob Skinstad a Signed Team Jersey
Bob Skinstad was Offered a Signed Jersey by Sarlat Rugby President Dom Einhorn

This is because Sarlat Rugby is a case study and proof of concept for the work of CXSports, an amateur sports team accelerator launched here in Sarlat after the success of the local club. Bob Skinstad’s interest comes from more than just his rugby background, however, but the years he has spent in the tech and investment world since. He has a nose for promising projects, and there’s more than a few brewing in the town of Sarlat. But Sunday’s visit to the Christian Goumondie Stadium was all about witnessing the success of one in particular: Sarlat Rugby.

Sarlat Rugby’s A Team Seizes the Lead Against S.A Rochefort

The game’s start felt somewhat rocky for the home team. Despite putting on the pressure and keeping Rochefort on the defensive, Sarlat Rugby lost two lines outs to off-center throws and had a pass intercepted by Rochefort defenders in the first five minutes alone. Nevertheless, their efforts bore fruit. Six minutes in, a series of quick sharp passes got the ball to fullback, #15, Franck Fresneda, who sprinted it so fast he had time to run it back across and claim the try between the posts. As #10 Serafin Bordoli nailed the conversion, Sarlat Rugby had opened the score 7-0 in less than 7 minutes. 

#15 Franck Fresneda grins as he runs in the first try for Sarlat Rugby against Rochefort
Sarlat Rugby Fullback #15 Franck Fresneda opened the score against Rochefort

Over the next 15 minutes, play went back and forth, and Sarlat continued to put on the pressure but found themselves short of completion time and time again. Fumbled passes and penalties reminiscent of some of their earlier games cost them time and ground, but the momentum was still on the home team’s side as their defense shut down Rochefort’s, whose first penalty also bounced off the post. Finally, after 24 minutes of play, another ball made it through, this time carried in on the corner by Sarlat Rugby’s #14, Lucas Caneda. A missed conversion left the score at 12-0.

Not for long, however, as Rochefort got their next penalty through the posts just three minutes later. Sarlat Rugby was on a roll now, however, and pushed back hard. Though their next try was denied due to a forward pass, the following one was crystal clear. When the ball made it to the wing, Sarlat’s #15 accelerated it with the #14 just behind to catch it and carry it in for the home team’s third try of the day. Another missed conversion left the score at 17-3, where it stayed despite a close call by Rochefort. A dropped ball and an interception cut short both teams’ attempts to change the score before halftime. 

Sarlat Rugby’s explosive wing #14 Lucas Caneda scores after he and Franck break free
S.A Rochefort had trouble dealing with Sarlat Rugby’s explosive backs like #14 Lucas Caneda

S.A Rochefort fights to come back, but Sarlat stays ahead!

It wasn’t just the adult rugby teams of Sarlat who were ready to put on a show for their fans and Bob Skinstad; the juniors and cadets were eager to make an impression as well with a formal presentation during halftime. The players from S.A Rochefort seemed eager to impress, too, and scored a penalty, again by their #15, within the first few minutes of play. Not to be outdone, Sarlat Rugby pushed up hard and fast, and a smooth transition from a line-out to maul allowed #4, Ikapote Fono, to charge out the other side and score the try. 24-6 just 5 minutes in. 

#4 Ikapote Fono after charging out of a maul to score for Sarlat Rugby
Sarlat Rugby’s forwards, like #4 Ika Fono, also made quite an impact against S.A Rochefort

Sarlat’s Stephane Labrousse started changing up the roster over the next 10 minutes, moving in #19 Dupont-Butez first, then a few minutes later #16 Chadourne, #17 Belle, and #18 Okriashvili to give the front row a rest. Rochefort continued to push hard, however, taking full advantage of penalties to gain ground, though they had trouble finding any openings in Sarlat Rugby’s defense. Twice they kicked forward for line-outs, but both times were unable to find the try and settled for penalties, scoring both to narrow the gap 24-12. 

Finally, after 23 minutes of play in the second half, S.A Rochefort seemed to have settled into their second wind. Despite a yellow card on both sides, or perhaps because of it, they found an opening on the flank. After catching a cleared ball, and kicking it to clear the tenacious defenders, Rochefort’s #11 sprinted the ball home to score in the corner. 24-17 after missing the conversion. Clearly, Rochefort was not giving up without a fight. 

As if to rise to the renewed challenge, Sarlat’s play seemed to improve as well, with few of the fumbled balls or errors seen in the first half. Just five minutes after S.A Rochefort’s try, Lucas Caneda found another opening on the flank, scoring to cheers from the home team crowd. Minutes later, a maul almost sent another try in, and with less than 10 minutes left on the clock, Sarlat confirmed their offensive bonus with a final try. This time a collective maul pushed #16 Jules Chadourne, over the line with the ball, and #20 Roman Aleyrangues converted. 36-17. 

In the second half of the game against S.A Rochefort, Sarlat Rugby’s maul was crucial
Sarlat Rubgy, like their maul, was difficult for the S.A Rochefort defense to stop

Despite strong pushes by both teams in the final minutes, neither was able to score, and the home team left the pitch victorious to applause by fans, staff, and even Bob Skinstad. It was not Sarlat’s first victory of the day, however, as the Women’s team had won their very first game of the season earlier in the afternoon. 

Sarlat Women’s Rugby team, The Alabrenas, Secures first Win against Bergerac

The Alabrenas, Sarlat’s brand new women’s rugby team, faced a tough challenge on Sunday. Not only did they have to take on Bergerac’s Gazelles, who had won their previous match with over 50 points, but they had to do so for their very first match, ever. Having won their first game of the season by forfeit, they now had to take on one of the best teams of the bracket in front of a growing audience. Oh, and rugby legend Bob Skinstad. No pressure!

The pressure looked like it might be too much as Bergerac scored the first try in less than 30 seconds. Nevertheless, the Alabrenas (the Occitan word for salamanders!) stayed true to their blue and black colors, proudly worn on brand new LUXE Digital Now Corporation sponsored jerseys. They retaliated hard, scoring and converting a try of their own, signed Émilie Santos less than 2 minutes later. The game seemed off to an exciting start, 7-7.

Émilie Santos slides home the first ever try for Sarlat Rugby’s Alabrenas against Bergerac
Alabrenas Captain Émilie Santos scored not one, not two, but three ties for Sarlat Rugby

Play slowed, however, as the teams got each other’s measure. With scrums awarded instead of penalty kicks for faults, the game became rather static. Both teams struggled to gain ground while retaining the ball, though 18 minutes in one of the Gazelles was mere steps from scoring when a Sarlat defender took her out. Halftime was whistled on the tie, however, and it was anyone’s game to win. 

Sarlat’s Alabrenas seemed even more determined when play resumed, keeping up the pressure and forcing Bergerac’s Gazelles into the 22m. Bergerac recovered, however, and only a timely tackle by Sarlat’s #3 Lou Van Paemlen stopped the counterattack. An injury forced Sarlat to switch up their roster, but a card for a Bergerac player gave Sarlat an edge. Their captain, #15, again seized the chance to score. 14-7 after #3 nailed the conversion. 

Sarlat’s Alabrenas’ #3 Lou Van Paemelen lines up a conversion kick on Sunday against Bergerac's Gazelles
In her first competition game, Alabrenas #3 Lou Van Paemelen nailed 3 out of 3 conversions

The Alabrenas managed to keep the upper hand, with Bergerac’s pushes brought short, though audiences were not treated to the high scoring show of the typical Sarlat Rugby game. Still, some of the plays were polished indeed, like the gorgeous line-out in the final minutes, which allowed Sarlat to move the ball down to their #14 who sprinted it in for the try. The third conversion for their #3 put Sarlat at 21 points, to 7.

While their victory was marred somewhat by a yellow card and injury (for a total of two potentially serious injuries in one game), emotion was thick in the air when the final whistle blew. The Alabrenas were ecstatic, having worked hard for their first win, in their first-ever game, with many players in their first-ever season of rugby. An impressive achievement testament to their teamwork, dedication, solid training, and Sarlat rugby spirit. We cannot wait to see what they will achieve!

Sarlat’s women’s rugby team the Alabrenas celebrate in their new LUXE Digital Now Jerseys
Camaraderie and courage gave rise to the celebration of the Alabrenas’ first win!
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin