The sun was shining on the Marseille Rugby Méditerranée players, as were the smiles of their professional colleagues who asked for photos and autographs from their playing partners during training. For Jérôme Dufour, who finished 2nd in Provence Rugby for three seasons, this training was an opportunity to return to one of the training clubs to pass on his passion to the youngest player: “It’s great to have a moment like this, to discover young people and pass on the values of rugby to them. If this can make them want to continue playing this sport, that’s great.”
If the city of Marseille is first and foremost a football country, the oval ball is also starting to find a place there, as Marseille Rugby Méditerranée president Augustin Marié explains: “Rugby is developing in Marseille, we have three clubs (Smuc, RCM and MRM, Editor’s note) is expanding. “Rugby has its place in Marseille, I hope it gets better and better for a long time.”
That’s the aim of the current runner-up in Pro D2, according to Provence Rugby managing director Vincent Bobin: “When the club became Provence Rugby the aim was to build relationships with partner clubs. The relocation of training allows us to establish connections with young players and professional players.”
But according to Augustin Marié, there is still work to be done: “It is difficult to play all year round in Marseille at the moment, I hope there will be changes because it risks hampering the development of training.”
So it’s a good start but efforts need to be sustained to see the oval fully integrated into the Marseille sporting scene.