The rugby teams of the South African Police Services, Correctional Services, and National Defence Force will have a rare opportunity to measure themselves against international opposition when the French National Military Championship winners, the France Gendarmerie Rugby XV, tour South Africa for the first time from 14 to 18 July.
The France Gendarmerie Rugby XV, who won the French National Military Championship for the last two years, will line up against the SA Police Services at Franschhoek RFC on Sunday 14 July, before travelling to Paarl where they will face Correctional Services on Tuesday 16 July, and National Defence Force on Thursday 18 July, respectively.
The matches form part of the Bastille Day celebrations and the annual SA Forces Rugby Championships, where the three local departments will compete against each other in a Senior, President's and Women's League.
The South African teams will be coached by Rhyno Jacobs (South African Police Services), Davey de Kock and Ashley Pieters (Correctional Services) and Irvin van Wyk (National Defence Force).
The purpose of the tour for the Frenchman, who are being coached by Warrant Officer Gilles Soirat, is two-fold – for the teams to share their rugby knowledge and to expose the visitors’ to quality opposition as they prepare for the International Defence Rugby Competition, which will be hosted in Japan in September.
The Frenchmen are set to arrive in Cape Town on Thursday night.
France Gendarmerie Rugby XV captain, Guillaume Melnyk, was excited about the opportunity and said: “Touring SA’s shores is such an inspiration for our team, and for any French rugby player. The matches will be tough, but it will be an unforgettable experience for us as this is our very first tour far from home.”
Sunday, 14 July – Franschhoek Community Sport Centre
10h00: SA Defence Force v Correctional Services
12h00: France Gendarmerie Rugby XV’s vs SA Police Services – Franschhoek RFC
Tuesday, 16 July - Paarl Correctional Centre
13h00: SA Police Services vs SA Defence Force
15h00: France Gendarmerie Rugby XV’s vs Correctional Services
Thursday, 18 July - Paarl Correctional Centre
13h00: France Gendarmerie Rugby XV’s vs Defence Force – Paarl Correctional Centre
Issued by SA Rugby Communications