Pakistan are ready for the Asia Rugby Championship Division III Central which starts on Wednesday.
Hosted by Kazakhstan, four teams will compete for this year’s title with the hosts being joined by Pakistan, Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan.
With the final on Saturday, Pakistan will line up against Kyrgyzstan in Almaty, at the Stadium of the First President.
Pakistan who are currently ranked 91st in the World Rugby rankings will be hoping to reach the final where they will possibly compete against the home team Kazakhstan who are currently ranked 61st. The other two teams are not ranked but have the potential to make their mark in the ARC.
The Pakistan team will be led by Kashif Khawaja of the Islamabad Jinn Rugby club – one of the most capped players in Pakistan.
Kashif was the first ever captain for Pakistan when he led the side in its first ever test in Hong Kong in 2004.
“My biggest expectation from the team is that they are disciplined,“ said Kashif.
“We have had good preparation for this tournament and I hope we can show it on the field.“
“In our preparation this year we worked a lot more on our fitness and the main reason was the Army team showed how they were able to win matches against teams that looked better on paper in the domestic tournaments because of that.
“This set the bar really high and I see the boys that made the final took the challenge and proved themselves on and off the field. This will hopefully be a key to our performance this time around.”
With the growth in Asia and in Pakistan continuing, Kashif is expecting this to continue over the course of the next few years.
“Pakistan Rugby Union is doing a fantastic job in promoting Rugby throughout the country. Especially via the Get into Rugby program and the Asia 1 Million program,” added Kashif.
“Rugby is growing in far fledged places in Pakistan and kids are having the opportunity to play rugby
“Rugby runs through our blood. If I stop playing I will be involved in some way, if not coaching, refereeing or helping organise tournaments. I can not live without rugby.”
Live score updates Pakistan Vs Kyrgystan
Live score updates Kazakhstan vs Mongolia
Fixtures and results: Asia Rugby Championship Division III Central