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Home > News > Do they really play rugby in India? Yes!
Your News Do they really play rugby in India? Yes!

April 2008

Thanks to all those people who have responded to the IRFUs first newsletter. Great to see so much interest and support in what Indian Rugby is endeavouring to achieve.

Funny though, being a kiwi in the land of Cricket, foreigners continue to ask Do they really play rugby in India? You bet we do, we are one of the fastest growing sports in India and the start of an exciting 2008 season is getting ever closer.

Id like to make special mention of the Indian Rugby Football Unions major Sponsors Kappa Clothing and Kingfisher. Without their continued support the efforts of our paid and volunteer workforce would be made extremely difficult

To all our stakeholders, please support our sponsors brands out there in the marketplace!

IRB Visit to India

The IRB Development General Manager Bruce Cook will visit India from IRB HQ Dublin along with the IRB Asia Rugby Development Manager Jarrad Gallagher. These gentlemen will be in Mumbai to conduct a review of the IRB IRFU funding and progress towards its stated objectives for 2008 and beyond.

The IRB gentlemen will be meeting with IRFU Board members, the National coach and the IRFU Development Manager over the weekend 4 - 6 April to confirm development plans, progress toward the Commonwealth Games 2010 and a raft of other challenges facing Indian Rugby, including lack of training and playing venues around India specifically for rugby use.

All India under 20 Tournament

What a tremendous response so far to the news of the first All India under 20 Club Tournament to be held in Mumbai 17th 20th June.

At this early stage expressions of interest indicate up to maybe 14 teams.

Planning has begun and there are Demonstration Womens Rugby and All India National Selection vs. Army Selection matches planned over the duration of the tournament as well as coaching, player and referee workshops.

We will be inviting all schools whove recently been involved in Rugby tournaments in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai to come along and watch the tournament and participate in skills workshops conducted by our top national team members who would have just returned from the Asian 5 Nations Tournament in Thailand.

Rugby Teams Travelling Overseas

As is standard practice around the world, the IRFU request that teams/clubs wishing to travel overseas to participate in tournaments first seek approval from your governing body (IRFU) to do so. Certainly in 99% of cases approval will be given.

This advice also serves to inform the major stakeholders the whereabouts of our players and coaches and enables IRFU to promote and inform the media about the good things that are happening in our great sport here in India.

Training and Development Resources

In my travels around India to date it has been somewhat disappointing to see the lack of training and coaching tools our Rugby Development Officers have had access to.

Exciting news however!

Over the past few weeks we have been putting together a training and development package for RDOs and coaches to ensure our trainers, coaches and players have access to the latest coaching and development resources available.

The IRB and some of our larger playing Nation friends have contributed to these resources and we will be dispatching complete sets of updated training and coaches resources over the next couple of weeks

This will include the 2008 Law Book and coaching diary along with a wealth of other information to assist our coaches and RDOs in their efforts to spread the word on rugby. Packs will be distributed to RDOs by the 20th April

Also there is a large amount of coaching information available on Websites such as for those with access to computers.

IRFU Website

Keep referring back to the IRFU website (if you have never visited take some time to do so.) it will be online and functional ASAP.

We have some teething problems getting the site updated however we are striving to get the site current as soon as possible

There will be more coaching and referee information, training and development tools and links for you to utilise as well as more information on a raft of topics from latest news to IRFU national records to eligibility and so on.

National Team Update

National team coach Usaia Biumaiwai has returned to India and is in the process of preparing the programme for the National team camp that takes place May 19th 18th June in Mumbai before the team departs to Bangkok for its Asian 5 Nations Division 2 Tournament vs. Thailand, Malaysia and Pakistan.

The IRFU fitness guru Dr Aijaz Ashai has sent to all squad members their updated fitness programmes to ensure the squad fitness standards are at a level not seen before in Indian rugby. This is the start of a big year for the Indian National 15s and 7s team as it is the first time we have played in div 2 of the A5N and also the beginning of the long build up to the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

The Joys of a day out Rugby Training in Kolkata

The picture below - A day in the life of training with the Jungle Crows on the Maiden in Kolkata. I wonder how many training grounds around the world have such wildlife diversity.

Pics Kindly supplied by Paul Walsh (Coach Jungle Crows)

A players view on the development of rugby in India

By Emil Vartazarian

Let me begin by stating that it gives me great pleasure to write a column in this newsletter; I am honoured to be a part of Indian rugby.

Development of rugby in India really started in 2002. We have managed to move forward at a rapid speed. However, having said that, we also need to keep in mind the potential that this country has to offer. If we weigh this potential against the resources, we will realize that we may have not accomplished much yet. We could then say that we are only a drop in an ocean, as the population of India is over 1.1 billion and there are about 17000 players in the entire country.

India has had a lot of well wishers for rugby and these are true lovers of the sport who have dedicated and devoted all their lives for this great game. Hats off to volunteers and loyal supporters of rugby from the past and in the present: from Arsham Sookias, Dada Osman and Isa Khan who have been pioneers of rugby in this country to the recent supporters such as Mohan Krishna, Pramod Khanna, David Yah, Tim Grandage, Jhunjun, Mohanty and Spacey.

Today, rugby in India is completely different from what it was a few years ago. As it was always considered to be an elite sport and promoted by volunteers, the game never managed to expand and spread to the common man. Therefore it never gained popularity. However, in the past few years Indian rugby has begun spreading its gospel to the grass root level - schools and colleges. That is where the future of Indian rugby lies and that is what will put India on the world map.

I am confident that, with the development plans that have begun, the support of IRB and of people like Jarrad Gallagher, Greg Davey and Usaia Biumaiwai, Indian rugby will soon become more recognized in the world. This will result in a huge market opening where the sport will flourish and begin to take shape on its own; it will not only sustain itself but will also become a phenomenal force to reckon with all this, hopefully by the Commonwealth Games 2010.

Indian rugby has always had major challenges. To name a few:

1. Cricket is the number one sport in this country and no other sport gets funding or support by the Government or by corporate/ private companies.

2. Infra structure is not provided for rugby by the Government in spite of recognition by the Olympic Association.

3. With insufficient funding, there are obstacles to the expansion of schools or number of coaches. Hence the vicious cycle: no money no coaches no players no media support and therefore no popularity of the sport.

Over the past decade, Indian rugby has seen a lot of changes: from 3000 players playing rugby in 4 different states to 17000 players playing in 10 states today, from 2 tournaments held annually in the past to 8 tournaments held in a year now, from 1 international exposure annually to 3 - 4 international tours yearly, today.

With the inclusion of rugby by Government Services such as Indian Army and the Police Forces, the quality of the sport has been enhanced; this has allowed rugby in India to reach new heights. All this shows only one thing growth of rugby in India.

One should not forget the sponsors who were willing to join in this journey on the road to success. With the help of IRB grants and the sponsors, Indian rugby has managed to come to where it is today. I am sure that with more financial support, where funds are monitored / managed efficiently and appropriately, Indian rugby will definitely succeed and achieve greater heights.

I have always believed that India is like a giant sleeping volcano waiting to erupt. I am certain that we are not too far from that day; I hope that we continue teaching and promoting this exciting sport in this country for many more years to come

Emil Vartazarian Technical Director, TNRFU

Keep those profile and new items coming

Coming in Mays Newsletter Great things happening at the junior level in Bangalore,

Some coaching basics for the 2008 season and information on the new player registrations process.

Many thanks till next time

Greg Davey

IRFU Development Manager

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