In welcoming you all to the new season I would like firstly to express my thanks to fellow committee members for all the work they have done behind the scenes and for the invaluable support they have given me. A special thank you to Helen Goodhew, who has decided to stand down this season, after many many years of toil in doing the administration and maintaining membership files up to speed!

Well, the season has got off to a flying start with a good win for the seniors against Cologne last Saturday in a German cup match. The seniors will play in Bundesliga Division 2 this year having valiantly flown the flag for RCL in Division 1 last season with several matches going to the wire. We have entered a second senior team in the German league this year because of growing numbers in our ranks and so if you have committed to playing please make sure you do attend training and better still pass the word around amongst your friends and acquaintances because it would be great to swell our senior ranks.

It is heartening to tell you that we now have players who, over the years, have come up through the ranks from the U5’s who are now playing for the senior teams and this is something that we are very proud of and one of the reasons RCL is successful in developing rugby in Luxembourg.

Also good to tell you that our U18 and U16 teams are both playing in the first division of the Belgian Leagues this season and this shows our consistency, determination and improving standards and I wish you all continued success.

Once again, at national level, at senior and all age groups , it is great to see that RCL is fielding a high proportion of the Luxembourg national side so you had all better start practicing learning the national anthem!

The Ecole de Rugby is thriving with many newcomers and we put up some very good performances in the first ever LuxLeagues competition last season with RCL fielding up to three teams in each age group.

Touch had a very successful corp league and is developing many new talented players under the coaching expertise of Simon Neal.

Over the summer months Paul Sweetnam has been working very hard to resolve coaching issues and I am pleased to say that he has been able to secure some top class coaches for the different age groups and I am sure this will translate into better discipline, better communication and better results.

All new coaches are very welcome and I would just single out Scott Browne, anew young dynamic coach who will work 8-10 hours a week with the junior age groups and will be running our first ever midweek training for école kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 16:00 to 17:30 at Cessange.

Paul has also been instrumental in completely overhauling the catering facilities and volunteers rosters and I am sure you will agree that even on rainy and cold days the ambiance is warm and cosy, at least when the tent roof does not blow away!!

I will finish off with my bête noire in that for the past three years I and others have been looking for a second pitch (and permanent clubhouse) for us to play on because although today’s Cessange pitch bears no comparison to the mud patch we used to play on we do urgently need a second pitch due to the numbers of people playing and the matches to be arranged. We are pursuing a number of leads and the Mayor of Luxembourg is supportive so I hope to be able to move this forward and have something positive to report within the next twelve months.

Of course we still need volunteers for all kinds of jobs to keep the club going throughout the season so please do not be shy in coming forward with offers of help and you can contact any of us on the committee or Paul Sweetnam.

The club lives on subscriptions and sponsorship so please make sure you get your subs in early and on time because this helps us considerably and avoids unnecessary time wasting on reminders. Of course, if you or your company would like to sponsor the club or one of the many events we hold throughout the year please come forward and approach a committee member.

This is very much the last word because I cannot not mention our only club employee Paul Sweetnam. As most of you will know Paul is involved in almost everything that makes the club tick, from ordering and delivering the food and drinks, ordering club kit, reserving the buses, organising tournaments, running the 7’s to organising the coaching and coaching the boys and everything in between. A very big THANK YOU Paul!

My best for a great season to RCL players, coaches and volunteers.

Fred Gabriel

RCL President