The Indian women have received a lot of publicity over the past year, and this year’s Asia Women’s Rugby Championship Division 1 gives them another opportunity to compete on the global stage.
Having competed in their first-ever 15s internationals in 2018, 12 months later they are in the Philippines for two matches.
They face the hosts in Wednesday’s semi-final, before either a final or a third place play-off against Singapore or China.
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Vahbiz Bharucha, a physiotherapist by trade, will captain the Indian side in their quest for the title, and she spoke about her pathway into rugby ahead of the tournament.
“I have been playing for the past 10 years, and I got into the sport sort of accidentally,” said Bharcuha.
“In 2009 a coach came to my school to promote rugby. At that point it was Get Into Rugby.
“He spotted me and a team mate of mine and he said we were made for the sport. He said to come and watch a 15s game.
“We witnessed it and we were taken by it so much, so as soon as we finished our exams we joined the sport.”
The Division 1 tournament is also acting as a pathway competition for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021.
Bharacha also spoke about the huge impact of achieving a place in that competition for her side.
“It would be a dream come true for a lot of girls,” added Bharacha.
“I have seen it in their eyes, we have seen these major teams playing on fresh green grass, and to be with them would be an honour.”
India Women’s head coach Naas Botha also spoke about how the game is growing in India.
“There is great importance to this tournament to give the girls this exposure in international rugby.
“This tournament will bring them to a level where they are exposed to Test rugby and improve their skills.
“The game in India has developed extremely over the past few years. Having the domestic league as we do shows how popular the sport is becoming which is great news for the future.”