Sarlat Rugby has had a lot of big announcements to make lately, and a few things have been missed. Now, in the lull of summer, as we await the first friendly games in August, it is the perfect opportunity to look back on an important event that took place just over a month ago: the Orange Perigord Noir Rugby Challenge.
Bright sun made for an idyllic day at the Bastille-Vitrac Stadium on the 12th of June as the kids from the Rugby School of Sarlat and nearby towns gathered for some intensive rugby training. The Perigord Noir Rugby Challenge, sponsored across all of France by Orange, is an intensive dive into, and test of, young rugby players’ skills on the pitch. Designed to bring out the best athletically, it also brings out the strongest of rugby values: Friendship, Fun, and Community.
Some of Sarlat Rugby’s Video team traveled down to the event, along with volunteers from both the CASPN (Athletic Club of Sarlat and the Perigord Noir) and UNIQORN (the team behind Sarlat Rugby’s rapid digital transformation) to help the event go smoothly, and to let parents and fans follow from afar!
Youth Rugby in the Spotlight During Full Day Event
The full-day Orange Rugby Challenge united kids from 10 to 15 years of age, from Sarlat as well as a number of other nearby towns across the Perigord Noir. While boys were in the majority, the newly founded girls’ team made a strong showing, and both appreciated the chance to learn from each other. Already the event was bringing people together through rugby!
Normally this would be the time of year for the official Orange Rugby Challenge. However, with the season having been thoroughly disrupted by the pandemic, the organizers decided to change it up. Rather than a strict competition to reward only the best among the young rugby athletes, this year’s event focused on workshops and skill-building.
Through a series of exercises designed to foster and test the different core elements of rugby play, the educators aimed to build confidence, talent, and enthusiasm ahead of the season. They covered everything from one on one evading to passing and teamwork exercises like 2+1+1, and of course, fine motor skills work on hand, eye, and foot coordination and manipulation.
While prizes for the top performers were handed out to the teams which performed the best, the event was less about the competition and more about fostering rugby skills and values.
Rugby Schools of Sarlat and Perigord Noir Build Rugby Values
Sarlat’s Rugby School has long been focused on instilling strong value as well as talent and skills in future generations of players. This Orange Perigord Noir Rugby Challenge was a chance to showcase the former objective as much as the latter.
On the most obvious level, the event revealed rugby’s power to create bonds between communities. By bringing together teams from different towns, different age groups, and even different genders, the rugby day went a long way towards strengthening those ties. A much-needed bridge when Covid-19 had been driving wedges between individuals and communities.
The full day of rugby also instilled a healthy respect for hard work, resilience, and determination—all values which rugby players exemplify. Yet closely tied in were more subtle values which the sport rewards and exemplifies: friendship, fair play, and of course, fun!
Kids could bond over the common experience, the struggles and triumphs; could form friendships during the moments of down-time which will serve them well in rugby seasons to come (and in life). By having both the girls and boys teams compete side-by-side, the event helped break down some of the walls in women’s sport, not to mention any misconceptions about the girls’ ability to compete! But most importantly, perhaps, by giving these kids a chance to let loose and focus their energy, it became a source of fun.
After all, joy and triumph are some of the core emotions that bring rugby players back to the pitch week after week. Thus the event will help encourage these future generations of players’ passion for the sport, as well as their skills on the pitch!
Sarlat Rugby, UNIQORN, and CASPN Lend a Hand at the Orange Rugby Challenge!
A regional and a local event, the day was organized by Jean Sauliere, who pulled off an impressive feat of coordination! So a big thanks to him as well as all the educators and volunteers. Including some from close to home!
Among the educators, you could find some Sarlat Rugby players, like Léo Bouty, who was also there to help make the event a success. The event was also an opportunity to foster the next generation of Sarlat Rugby players, and a chance to work on their own training skills. After all, many of these young talented athletes will come up through the Rugby School to eventually join the team!
Sarlat Rugby also lent some of its technical expertise, notably through the filming crew. In addition to creating the video above to showcase the event and what it brought, the team also broadcast the entire afternoon live on social media. It was a great way for family members, fans, and students stuck at home to follow along, as well as for any coaches to take a look at some of the future talent of the region!
No event of this scale could take place without a fair legion of volunteers, however. In addition to the many educators and athletes, some of UNIQORN’s employees took time off their weekends to help out. After all, it was also a chance for them to experience another side of the Sarlat Rugby story they worked so hard to share with the world.
Ultimately, however, whether it was for the kids, educators, or volunteers, the event was a great opportunity to see the spirit of rugby at work and to just have some fun!