An exciting week for Asia Rugby and Rugby India beckons as the first-ever Indian U-18 Girls 7s team is set to compete in the inaugural Asia Rugby Under-18 Girls Rugby Sevens Championship being held in Dubai Sports City, UAE, from 30th November to 2nd December, 2016.
Nasser Hussain — GM Rugby India, Get Into Rugby Coordinator for India, and national U-18 Girls team Coach — spoke about how the team was selected, and the wonderful new world of opportunity opening up for girls rugby.
“The Junior National (U-18) Rugby Sevens Championship that featured 12 state teams was the platform for shortlisting the girls.”
Around 35 girls from across India made the initial shortlist, but unfortunately 12 of them had to be dropped because of passport issues. For the rest, “A 20-day camp was held where the girls were put through their paces and a few cuts were made, narrowing down to the final 12 who are travelling to Dubai,” Nasser added.
“I have been working with the girls team and they are doing pretty well”, said Nasser, concluding: “They sure have a good future ahead and most importantly they are enjoying it.”
Most of the girls benefited from Get Into Rugby (GIR), World Rugby’s flagship development program, which has been a key part of the development pathway that has provided girls across India opportunities to take up rugby.
Rugby India has been praised by World Rugby as one of the best performing Unions globally, not just in terms of participation numbers but also in terms of the quality of the development program and its reporting.
Ben van Rooyan, the Rugby Asia Rugby Coordinator, was full of praise for what Rugby India is doing in Get into Rugby, and thinks it reflects a promising opportunity to grow girls rugby at scale in the country and on the continent.
On the upcoming inaugural Asia Rugby Under-18 Girls Rugby Sevens Championship, Ben said, “I feel this tournament can ignite the passion for rugby in girls all over India and Asia, and is a key milestone for Recruitment & Retention Strategy for the Asia Get Into Rugby program.”