AS Monaco Rugby’s women’s section has grown significantly since it was launched nearly four years ago and is now the highlight of the club. Fabien Camin, a key figure in this budding success, looks back at the development of a category that continues to grow.

Sweeping away prejudices and clichés is the objective of AS Monaco Rugby. “People still sometimes have this image of a sport for brutes,” laments Fabien Camin, the founder and manager of ASM Rugby’s women’s section. But with the increasing media coverage of the sport, girls are more and more interested in rugby.”

A desire to train young players

The recent success of the French women’s rugby sevens team at the latest Olympic Games in Tokyo confirms this. With a silver medal won in Japan, Fanny Horta’s teammates have built on their magnificent victory at the Olympic qualifier in Monaco to further elevate women’s rugby to the rank of up-and-coming sports.

“Women’s clubs are being formed, unlike some men’s clubs in small villages that are disappearing.”

Fabien Camin, manager of AS Monaco Rugby’s women’s section.

“More and more women’s clubs are being created, unlike some men’s clubs in small villages which tend to disappear,” admits Fabien Camin. “In Monaco, our ambition is to develop women’s rugby, by training as many young players as possible and by rising through the ranks with our senior team.”

Promoting gender diversity in rugby schools

To this end, and despite certain infrastructure constraints, the AS Monaco women’s section is structuring itself around its senior team, whilst tracking the performances of the youngsters from the rugby school, who train with the boys until they are 15. “The club’s policy is to promote this diversity, by allowing our young female players to play with the boys.”

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Thanks to health and fitness and beach rugby in particular, the discipline attracts young girls of all ages. This has led to the creation of two championship teams this season, one with seven players and another with ten. “The licences are still being finalised but at the first training session there were about 17 girls. We are expecting 40 players this season.”

In the long term, for girls aged 15 to 18, the aim is also to create an arrangement with other clubs in the region, such as Stade Niçois, Rugby Olympique de Grasse and Stade Laurentin Rugby. “It is important to join forces with the region’s pool of female players to form a competitive team.” The rise of women’s rugby on the Rock and on the French Riviera has only just begun.