In the rural community of Northern Rwanda a spark has been lit. One single Rugby Development Officer, Alexis Sibomana is now reporting over 1500 students from local schools have taken instruction on the rules of rugby and participated in a variety of training sessions. In addition to the students Alexis is working on the basics of refereeing with 7 keen refs in a hope of providing more game opportunities for the eager youths. An exhaustive schedule see the following programs receive instruction on a weekly basis EP KANIGA, EP & ES BUGOMA,EP & ES MULINDI, EP KARAMBI,EP MUGINA, EP & ES KIRUHURA, EP MUKARANGE,EP& ES NYAGAKIZI, and COLLEGE DE RUSHAKI
The southern part of Rwanda continues to be a great breeding ground for young rugby talent. Southern Rugby Development Officer Muvunyi Mathieu reported that 8 schools in his area are now actively playing the game. Kiziberi, Kageyo, Mbuye, Amizero, Ruhango Catholic, Nyamagana, Gitisi and Munni are all creating and developing teams. Planning has begun for a tournament to take place in 2011.
After a recent coaching visit to Rwanda Frank Hadden contacted the charity to ask if there was anything that he could contribute. From first hand experience he was clearly impressed with the passion and commitment of local Rwandan rugby community. Although slightly shocked about the lack of a suitable playing area he spent time with Scottish Regional Referee Development Manager Colin Brett up skilling players and coaches drawing on their vast experience. Frank has pledged to raise the issue of land with IRB officials. Friends of Rwandan Rugby continues its commitment to help finance the purchase once a suitable field has been sourced.
As one of the first two females to assist on an official FoRR coaching tour Agnes NIYOTUMUKESHA has continued to blaze a trail for female coaches in the country. She has started to develop teams in the Ntenyo area and is working with teams from Kageyo and Kizebere primary schools. A friendly fixture is planned for December 2010 and with assistance from the Southern Rugby Development officer this area looks set to continue both boys and girls fixtures into the future. She stated that even with access to limited materials the area is still really hungry to learn more about the sport.
On the 24th October 2010 our rugby development officer, Muvunyi Mathieu organised a TAG tournament in Huye between the teams who were introduced to rugby on the 2009 Tour. The tournament winners were NGOMA the second was TUMBA the third was KIBONDO and the fourth was NGOMA B. The first team got a big cup, the second got a small cup, the third and fourth got the balls and the trained teacher got the Friends of Rwandan Rugby Certificate.
Between 22nd -28th October 2010, the Confederation of African Rugby held a Level 1 coaching and refereeing course at the Amahoro Stadium in Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali. Our program manager in Rwanda, Kamanda Tharcisse reported that many players and coaches attended and enjoyed the course. He was also very happy to see many of them were originally players at Shyogwe school who are now in different Regions of Rwanda but are still playing rugby, especially in Universities.
Greeted at the airport by the New President of the Federation of Rwandan Rugby Dr Otto Vianney Muhinda, Piers spent two weeks coaching and refereeing rugby throughout the country. The first weekend of the visit saw him officiate at a schools tournament just outside the capital in Ndera. 10 boys’ teams and 4 girls’ teams were involved travelling from Kigali, Kamonyi and Giterama to participate. The boys final was eventually won by the home side with fierce competition reported throughout. The girls competition received excellent reports and it was said that they played some of the best rugby on the day with excellent passing and in particular good technique when tackling. GS Remera was victorious in the girls competition and a great day was had by all. Upon completion Piers travelled to the North to work with Sonrise school and headed on to Rulindo and Tumba to aid work being carried out by Northern RDO Alexis Sibomana. Eventually moving South to Gitarama Piers experienced utter delight when arriving unannounced he saw both Kabgayi A and Kabgayi B playing TAG. A trip to Shyogwe resulted in a very productive training session and it was noted that the standard of play has improved considerably since last years tour to the area. Piers left the area still with the songs the students had learnt the previous year about rugby ringing in his ears. This visit also allowed the introduction of Laurien Hukizimana as a potential RDO for the region allowing Mathieu Muvunyi the opportunity to focus on schools in the Ruhango area. Piers reported back to the committee that Laurien (a former St Joseph’s pupil) was an impressive young man, good rugby player and seemed well connected within the district. During his time in country Piers was also able to spend some time with the National squad whilst they prepared for an International tournament scheduled for 22nd November 2011. Finally a genuine attempt was made to source appropriate land for purchase. Whilst again proving difficult, discussions were held with the Federation of Rwandan Rugby about short term leasing possibilities and the eventually ownership of a National home ground.
FoRR’s mission to drive rugby in rural communities has resulted in the foundation of Rwanda’s newest men’s club. Situated in the far North of the country Jaguar made a successful entrance into the National rugby competition with their maiden victory coming in a game against Remera Puma 7 points to 5. Founding coach Alexis Sibomana was delighted by the team’s performance and looks to continue to draw talent from the local university to swell the ranks of squad players.