Salvatore Zandonà, the president of Belgium Rugby, cannot wait to see the Brussels Devils get going in Rugby Europe Super Cup action this coming weekend.
They will on the road to Delta from the Netherlands in Amersfoort in Utrecht at 3.30pm local time on Saturday in the Western Conference as the new annual competition which will see a mix of professional club and franchise teams from across Europe battling it out for the Rugby Europe Super Cup title gets underway.
And Zandonà believes that having the Brussels Devils involved in such an event will really raise the profile of rugby union in Belgium moving forward.
“As president of the union I will feel very happy that Belgium will be able to have a team participating in such a competition and it is great to be present from the beginning of the adventure, we are grateful to Rugby Europe for letting us be a part of this,” he said.
“This will raise the level of rugby for everyone in Belgium.
“We needed a team playing in a high level competition to inspire talented young players, mainly the under-23s, playing in Belgium. Through this competition we want to make our own country’s club championship more attractive too.
“Like everyone, organising a new squad in times of Covid was not easy. We had to convince clubs that the Rugby Europe Super Cup would have beneficial effects for all of us - players who can train and play at a high level always bring back that experience to their clubs.
“We are very happy that all of them have accepted the project, without that we would not have been able to set up this team, so I would like to thank our local clubs.
“Over the coming weeks we hope that the team will develop well in the rankings and will fuel the desire of young players who want to play for the Devils going forward. We hope to create a buzz around the Brussels Devils.”
Head coach of the team Frederic Cocqu added: “We are very excited to be part of this Super Cup. We have chosen to allow young Belgian players, who are mainly playing in Belgium, to participate in this great adventure.
“It is an opportunity for us to test our young talents in a high level competition.
“The team was put together carefully. In Belgium it was impossible to play or train for 18 months because of the pandemic, so it has been a real pleasure for all of us to get back on the pitch and learn to play together recently.
I am very happy with the work we have done in such a short time. The competition is intense in addition to the matches that all the players will be taking part in at their clubs, so a good start is important for the confidence of players and the whole staff, but we believe in our game plan and are looking forward to representing Belgium on this stage for sure.”
Watch the first round of the competition on rugbyeurope.tv
Fixtures and kick off times HERE
Brussels Devils Squad
Amin Hamzaoui, Arnaud Van Balberghe, Ayrton Stanier, Basile Poupaert, Basile Van Parys, Bruno Vliegen, Cian Cauwenbergh, Florent Lenaertz, Florian Remue, Frédéric De Smet, Gilles Harte, Gonzalo Moreno, Henri Dequenne, Hugo De Francq, Hugo Ruelle, Hugues Bastin, Ian Dumez, Isaac Montoisy, Jacob Van de Weghe, Joachim Pierart, Jonathan Craenen, Karel De Paepe, Léopold Roobaert, Louis De Moffarts, Maarten Huau, Maximilien Henrickx, Michael Abrahams , Oscar Michelini, Rémy Driesen, Robin Vermeersch, Ryan Godsmark, Sacha Yoko, Samuël Opsomer, Toon Deceuninck, Valéry Dulieu, Viktor Pazgrat.
By Gary Heatly
Image: Belgium Rugby