Rugby for self-fulfillement

 Play and share


“Organising a Rugby World Cup is a complicated mission. The enthusiasm and motivation of the youngsters from Pontlevoy for the Rugby Heritage Cup is an absolute pleasure. I say to myself: this is why we’re doing it!

I encourage them to make the most of the preparations for this event. It will be an exceptional time of sharing between schools coming from all over the world. An unforgettable experience for everyone who is taking part in it.”

“The Rugby Heritage Cup will enable us to put forward together the  educational values of rugby.” 

The managing director of the Rugby World Cup France 2023

1823-2023, our Heritage 

What an amazing coincidence, the 1st school rugby world tournament falls on the 200th anniversary of the invention of rugby by… a child ! Let me tell you the story.


William Webb Ellis was 15 years old. At the prestigious English public school in the town of Rugby, it was in secondary school that he made the founding move. One day, during a football match, he picked the ball up in his hands and ran to flatten it in the goal … 

So he invented the rugby almost by accident. With the school’s headmaster and two other schoolboys they started to draw up the first rules of rugby. We know what happened next, because 200 years later we will be coming together in France to continue playing the game. Incidentally, to celebrate the anniversary, pupils from the Rugby School have been invited to join us in Pontlevoy. 

But in fact, what is it about this sport that young people like so much? 

Some of them, especially the boys, will tell you that they like the physical side of the game, the contact that pushes their virility to the limit. But, in reality, if this sport is so highly appreciated and admired by a great number of young people, it is because of the values that it teaches: courage, team spirit, respect. These values will later become their driving force and their code of conduct. As for team spirit, I would even say family spirit, it counts a lot for us. Big, small, strong, quick, there’s a place for everyone. 

We like it too because of its unique style of play, using hands, feet, even heads, its complicated rules – but that everyone loves -, that intensity that we employ when we’re playing and that brings out all of our emotions at 200%. 

And finally, that precious 3rd half… Making us forget that there is a winner and a loser. 


And you, why do you love rugby ?

I hope we will have the chance to talk about it all together.  See you in Pontlevoy from the 2nd to the 7th of  September 2023 for a celebration of rugby. And once again, happy birthday William !


Louis HERVIER, Promotion 2005

The Rugby values that we celebrate

Like Frank Mesnel 1, former French international, we think that Rugby, a demanding sport, “reflects life in society”. To bring together the young people, our committee has chosen to place the Rugby Heritage Cup under the flag of the 5 values of World Rugby. 

  • Discipline, rugby has rules that need to be applied with it.
  • Respect of the referee whose decisions are unquestionable. 
  • Solidarity to protect a team mate 
  • Passion to carry the ball over the goal line. 
  • Integrity is essential to respect opponents and live in harmony on the pitch. 

To these 5 values, our committee has added a 6th:  transmission. Of the legacy of William Web Ellis, who invented the game, but also the legacy of the educators who embolden children to take responsibility and truly become men and women. 

Even though it’s a game, the Rugby Heritage Cup Pontlevoy 2023® organizing committee is convinced of this: rugby is a tremendous learning tool. 

Thierry Chenet, president of the Heritage Pontlevoy association 

1- “Brothers in arms” by David Beresford-Jones, published by Hugo Sport.  

Rugby sevens, perfect for schools

Making room for everyone is one of the key educational values in rugby. 

Big or small, strapping or slender, quick or slower, there’s a role to suit everyone. However, unlike playing at club level, where sporting performance takes precedence, school rugby focuses more on the pleasure of the game, on its educational benefits and on its capacity to bring people together. 

Taking up less space and offering the flexibility to constitute smaller teams,  rugby sevens is often championed in schools. But if it is so popular, it is above all for its fun side, the rapidity of its actions and its airy game. An additional bonus point: evasion, technique and strategy take precedence over contact-seeking, thereby reducing the physical impact, an advantage for young people, both girls and boys. 

Finally, these two 7-minute halves are as intense as they are spectacular ! Ideal for the fast pace of the Rugby Heritage Cup, which will see 24 boys’ teams and 24 girls’ teams confront one another over the space of a week.


Gender diversity, an additional asset for Rugby 

Event co-organiser, school rugby trainer in Pontlevoy, notably for the girls, François Roche-Bayard is a fervent defender of women’s rugby. 

In view of the fact that the sport has existed for 200 years, women playing rugby is recent. What can it contribute to the game?

Originally very masculine, boasting injuries and high levels of testosterone, the progressive opening of rugby to women has been very positive for this sport. Generally, the only thing girls have said they are afraid of is hurting their friends. Their manner of playing shows that calmer challenges are possible, that there’s no need to crush others. At school level I have also noticed that they have a holistic approach. They watch their opponents as much as their teammates, the state of the pitch, weather, atmosphere, etc. They have a new way of looking at it, and they bring a form of aesthetics to the game in general and to rugby sevens in particular, conducive to speed, evasion, strategy.

Does rugby bring them something special too ?

When we see these highly athletic women players wearing makeup, looking well styled, it’s easy to see that it doesn’t take anything away from them and that femininity and engagement are fully compatible. 

Modestly, because it’s still a game, the fact that girls play with so much pleasure and success a sport that is reputed to be masculine shows them that anything is possible. In the same way as in life, being willing and determined, they have a seat to take at the table, a path to follow.

Even though the RHC is promoting mixity in school rugby, you have opted for the constitution of separate girls’ and boys’ teams. Why ?

By inviting young people under the age of 15, effectively we could have had them play together. However, because this is a world tournament, it is bringing together young people with very different levels of fitness within the same category of age. There would also have been the risk of finding ourselves with a boys-only final with the emphasis on strength, which would have been a shame. 

Incidentally, in order not to differentiate, we will be randomly selecting the order of play for boys and girls when programming the finals. 

 “The handover will only be complete when it fully integrates the girls.”