Pakistan Women’s Rugby 7s team is ready to compete in the Asia Rugby women’s Trophy this year. The national squad’s preparation was boosted by expert coaching assistance from Susan Dawson, a former Black Fern and currently Development Coach for Northland Rugby Union’s premier women’s team – New Zealand .
Last year the Pakistan women’s team showed promise in its spirited debut in international rugby in the Asia Rugby Sevens tournament In Loas.
Women’s Rugby In Pakistan
Pakistan Rugby is implementing World Rugby’s “Get into Rugby” (GIR) programme, successfully introducing rugby over a large part of the country , not only for boys and men, but with a concerted focus ensuring the participation of girls and women. Rugby has presence in some areas which have never seen any organised sports.
Consequently, female participation in rugby in the country stood at 20,496 in 2016, rose to 28,743 in 2017, and by September 2018 has reached33,272.
This remarkable rise in the pool of girl and women players reflects the potential of the women’s game in Pakistan, and testifies to the interest, access and inclusion the Pakistan Rugby Union (PRU) has been able to generate through the GIR program.
Asia 1 Million
The Asia Rugby Impact Beyond 2019 program, with its flagship A1M project, has catalysed the PRU’s effort to create a clear pathway for girls/women to progress from the grassroots through to national representation in rugby through age-grade , senior competitions, imparting game-knowledge and skills through training of coaches and referees.
The inclusion of Women’s Rugby in the National Games and the participation of the national Women 7’s team in the Asia Rugby Sevens have bolstered the popularity of the sport amongst Pakistani girls and women.
Head Coach Susan Dawson
On taking up the assignment, Pakistan Women’s Rugby head coach Susan Dawson said,“I think it was just a very great opportunity to come to a country where maybe I would never have come before. I think it is going to be really good from my own coaching experience .”
Dawson believes the women’s national team needs international tournament exposure: “It is crucial for Pakistan (Rugby) to give the girls this valuable experience.”
When asked about what she hopes to accomplish and her stint as the country’s national coach, she responded: “I hope to show a little bit of New Zealand family (rugby values) that once you make a national side like Pakistan you are now a Pakistan side and not from Islamabad or Lahore or some where else. I hope to add value to what the (local) coaches have done with the women. They have done such a fantastic job.”
Talking about this year’s upcoming tournament, she said, “I think its going to be great experience for all concerned; for our manager, for the physio, and myself, with all of us being women and our first tournament as well as for the players of course. Developing and experiencing that type of environment so that one day they can move to the main sevens series: that would be the ultimate dream.”
The Squad for the Asia Rugby women’s Sevens Trophy
Captain Javeria Hassan , Wajiha Karim , Irum Shahzadi , Nimra Maryam , Sana Hanif , Raheela , Ammara , Zahida Parveen , Amna Saraj , Bushra Rasheed , Rimsha Khan , Maryum Asif Butt
Susan Margaret Dawson (Coach)
Hadeel Niazi (Manager )
Shamaila Yaqub (Physio)