Delano spoke to Tony Whiteman, organiser of Rugby Club Luxembourg’s 50th anniversary celebrations, about the club’s remarkable transformation over the past five decades.

Rugby Club Luxembourg, a prominent rugby team based in Cessange, celebrated its 50th anniversary with a weekend filled with festivities. Celebrations kicked off on 9 June with a social gathering at the club’s stadium in Cessange and a game with veteran players. The friendly competition between the club’s long-standing members pitted veterans born on odd dates against those born on even dates--the odd dates emerged victorious. “Seventy to eighty people flew in to Luxembourg for the weekend and the atmosphere has been very relaxing,” Whiteman said.

The club’s junior players also played a game the following day in the presence of rugby celebrities Ian Balshaw, Mike Tindall and Mauro Begrmasco. The club rounded off the evening with a gala dinner at the Hotel Parc Alvisse, which included an auction to support the charity Kick Cancer into Touch. “The club’s always made an emphasis on community spirit and charity,” Whiteman said.

From its humble beginnings as a small social club, the team has grown into a formidable force in the German second division of rugby. Founded in 1973 by Frenchman Albert Cohen, the club today boasts over 500 members. Whiteman said the rugby club’s journey began in the 1970s and 1980s as a social community of amateur players with a shared passion for the sport. “In the 70s and 80s, the club was a big part of Luxembourg’s international social community.”

In the 90s, an influx of players raised the quality of play, with the club winning the Alsace-Lorraine Cup in 1994. The club continued to grow in subsequent years, playing in the Belgian and French leagues, before switching to the German League where they currently compete in the second division.

Luxembourg’s rapid expansion over the past decade has fuelled interest in the sport, according to Whiteman. “It’s just exploded since 2010 as Luxembourg has continued to grow.”