(JB) Four people have been appointed to succeed outgoing rugby director Marty Davis, to help drive rugby to the next level in Luxembourg.
French national Alexandre Benedetti was named as national technical director for rugby, responsible for national team selection, with the exception of the senior 15s, for whom he will be a consultant, and for defining the development programme.
He will be supported by Jonathan Flynn, head coach of the national team, and rugby development officers Paul Sweetnam and Lghali Mrani, who will work with schools and clubs to raise the profile of rugby in Luxembourg and develop future generations of players.
“It was clear very quickly that the structure which Marty Davis, the only employee of the federation, had put in place was good for 12 years but it wasn’t at all adapted to what we represent today,” said Luxembourg Rugby Federation president Steve Karier at a press conference on Wednesday.
« We were under pressure but we’ve taken the time to think about this to analyse our situation and our needs to find a sustainable solution. »
4th rugby club & national competition
Benedetti, who has been in post since mid-August, is both an accomplished player and coach. Born in Marseille, he played for many years in third row, before becoming a professional coach.
He worked as technical director for rugby in Alsace Lorraine, in an environment, which Mr Karier said was “comparable to ours” in terms of challenges.
He said his key priorities included the creation of a fourth rugby club in Luxembourg as well as a national rugby contest.
“Our teams play in France, Belgium and Germany, but we’ve no national competition,” he said, adding: “I hope to make a championship for the start of the new season in September 2016.”
Regarding the founding of a new club, Benedetti said he would look at feasibility in towns in the south of Luxembourg, close to the French border.
Luxembourg senior 15s
Scotsman Jonathan Flynn is no stranger to the national senior 15s with which he worked closely as assistant coach, alongside Marty Davis before he left in May 2015.
The team has had considerable success, rising in the rankings from 94th to 67th place out of 100 nations over three seasons.
“We’re looking for continuity if anything. We’re not reinventing the wheel and I’m trying to not disrupt things too much to continue where we left off with a few small tweaks,” he said.
Flynn was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has lived in Luxembourg for several years. He played second row for the Luxembourg national team in 23 games. A former RCL coach, he was assistant to Marty Davis.
Lghali Mrani, who is one half of the rugby development team, was born in Morrocco. He formerly played in Morocco and France. More recently, he worked as a youth coach with the Walferdange rugby club and in schools alongside Marty Davis. He will work with Paul Sweetnam, a former rugby player who directed the RCL rugby school and who has invested a lot in rugby and touch in Luxembourg.
Their programme is still being defined but their remit will be to encourage players from schools to join the rugby clubs.
The next Luxembourg senior 15s game will take place in Vienna, Austria on October 24. Their next home game will be on November 14, against Serbia.
Photo: Alexandre Benedetti, Directeur Technique National
Crédit: Pierre Matgé