Ospreys Rugby are delighted to announce details of a new agreement with Belgian rugby club, ASUB Waterloo, that will see the team from the Brussels suburbs join the region’s expanding network
The Ospreys already boast sister club arrangements in Italy, with further announcements due imminently confirming new relationships in Germany, Latvia and Holland, as well as additions to the Italian network.
ASUB Waterloo are the current Belgian champions, and share the Ospreys’ philosophy of developing local talent and growing the game by increasing participation at the grassroots level, making them a well suited partner for the region, in line with the stated aim of creating sustainable success on and off the field.
Salvatore Zandona, President, ASUB Waterloo commented:
“We are very proud and excited about this partnership, which confirms on one hand our commitment to develop young players to the best of their ability, and on the other hand recognises that standing that Belgium now has in amateur rugby circles.
“After 30 years spent in the north of Brussels, ASUB Rugby moved to Waterloo in 1988, as we could no longer benefit from the existing infrastructures in Brussels. Despite this move, we have remained the only club who has only ever played in the 1st Divison, managing to win five more championship titles while rebuilding the rugby school from scratch. Moreover, 85 per cent of the players who won the title last year graduated from our rugby school.
“Today, we establish a new level of development in Belgian rugby. Combined with our brand new facilities, the strong support from the city of Waterloo, and the "Excellence Program" developed during the past years, we confirm that the athlete is central is our vision. Our aim is to develop young rugby players first (male and female), and, the partnership with Ospreys will increase our ability to do this.
“Our 400 members are very excited with this new opportunity”.
Yarnie Guthrie, Ospreys Commercial Manager, added:
“It gives us enormous pleasure to be able to announce this new sister club relationship with ASUB Waterloo, the most prestigious rugby club in Belgium. It is a relationship that will have many benefits for both ASUB and Ospreys Rugby, allowing us to pool resources where appropriate, to work together for the long term benefit of both organisations.
“Rugby is a growing sport globally and our sister club relationships will assist us in our aims of remaining a force in the European game, while also helping with the development of rugby across Europe from grassroots up by replicating and implementing the very successful programmes we have in place at the region.
“The exchange of technical expertise will enable all parties to improve organisational, commercial and competitive capabilities. As we’ve seen with our partnerships in Italy, with rugby clubs, and commercially with FIOL and Stabili, this collaborative approach can have huge benefits for all concerned.
“We look forward to working closely with ASUB Waterloo over the coming months and years, both on and off the rugby field.”
The sister club initiative sees an exchange of rugby knowledge and coaching expertise, with the clubs who are part of the network learning from the Ospreys’ renowned player development pathway.
Off the field, the Ospreys and ASUB Waterloo – as with the other sister clubs – will collaborate commercially, with the region providing global visibility for commercial partners of their sister clubs, offering them new rewards for their support of, and investment into, grassroots rugby.
Planning is already underway for a special match during 2014/15 featuring the Ospreys, on the historic site of the Battle of Waterloo in Brussels, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of that occasion. The fixture will be organised and hosted by ASUB Waterloo.
In addition, the region will be hosting a summer rugby camp during in Brussels next summer, bringing together young ASUB Waterloo players together for a week-long Ospreys experience. Board members from ASUB Waterloo will be the guests of Ospreys Rugby at the Liberty Stadium next month.
Jean Vandezande, ASUB Waterloo Commercial Director, said:
“We are delighted to have this unique opportunity to become a sister club of Ospreys Rugby, a club with such a fantastic history in a country with such an immense rugby tradition and who have had so many legends wearing the shirt.
“We share the same values and we see this relationship as a long-term one, exchanging knowledge, sharing best practice for coaches and players. We will be hosting rugby camps during the summer on our new fantastic pitch and last but not least will host the Ospreys for an event linked to the battle of Waterloo.
“We will be honoured to come to Swansea in January at the “Liberty” to meet everybody in what we can call already our new family.”
ASUB Waterloo, or Association sportive de l’Universite de Bruxelles, was founded in 1959, and is one of Belgum’s leading rugby clubs with 15 league titles and 13 cup wins, and having done the double on seven occasons. The most recent league success came last season.
There are around 60 amateur clubs in Belgium, with more than 13,000 registered players. Belgium are currently 25th in the IRB rankings and play in the ‘Six Nations B’ competition alongside Georgia, Russia, Portugal, Romania and Spain.
ASUB Waterloo has produced more than 50 international players and is renowned in Belgium for its rugby academy and record of player development. Since September 2013, the club can boast an IRB certified pitch, the only one in Belgium that matches the required full dimensions (100m x 68m), and will host international events in the future.