Kolkata: The Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU) aka Rugby India, the governing body for the sport of Rugby in India in association with Calcutta Cricket & Football Club and Bengal Rugby Union (BRU) are currently hosting the 83rd edition of “The All-India & South Asia Rugby Championship 2016” from 17th to 24th, September 2016 at the CC&FC ground in Kolkata.
With the CC&FC celebrating 225 years, the Inaugural Women’s Rugby XVs Championship is being held alongside the men’s tournament for the very first time, from 18th to 23rd September 2016. The inclusion of the Women’s Rugby XVs Championship is like the icing on the cake. The response received for the Women’s Rugby XVs has been overwhelming with the participation from 6 teams across the country – Delhi Hurricanes, Bihar RFC, Odisha RFC, Jungle Crows, Young Rugby Club (YRC) and hosts CC&FC.
Mr. Noomi Mehta, President, Indian Rugby Football Union and Hon. member of the CCFC club said, “We are honored to host the 83rd edition of ‘All India & South Asia Rugby Championship and the Inaugural Women’s Rugby XVs Championship at CC&FC, one of the founding members of Rugby in India and known for its rich history and tradition in sporting excellence. We are thrilled to see the inclusion of the Women’s Rugby XVs Championship, Which is a milestone for Rugby India and is testament to the growth of the sport in our country. We appreciate the support we are getting from the Societe Generale to grow the sport across India.”
Mahesh Mathai , Secretary General, Rugby India stated – “It is very encouraging to see the participation in the first ever Women’s Rugby XVs and increasing popularity that Rugby, as a sport, is witnessing in India. Rugby’s successful re-inclusion in the Olympics has given the sport a major boost Globally. The focus of Rugby India over the last few years has been on the growth and development of the sport. Various initiatives, targeting the schools and youth across the 24 playing States, has propelled this growth and resulted in increased following and tremendous spike in participation numbers from 2012 to 2016. The total number of players in India, across all age groups, has increased from 18,490 to 55,290 (200% increase) with Male players rising from 13,135 to 33,700 (156% increase) and Female players from 5,355 to 21,590 (300 % increase).”
William Glenwright, GM, Asia and Oceana, World Rugby Said, “It is extremely encouraging to see the growth of Rugby in India. Partnerships with leading international brands like Societe Generale, Puma, PROINSO and Heineken will serve as a great platform for Rugby to reach out to the countries large diverse population. With the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics to be hosted in Japan this is an exciting time for Asia and we are certain that World Rugby and Asia Rugby will assist in supporting the ongoing development initiatives of Rugby India and help achieve new milestones”.
Rugby India’s partnership with Societe Generale aims to train, develop and groom national level players. This tournament is an ideal platform to talent ID and for players to showcase their skills and be scouted to join the Indian National team training squad. In addition to the high performance, Societe Generale has invested towards the ‘Get Into Rugby’ initiative that focuses on spreading awareness and increasing participation across the country through the grassroots development of the sport. Recently, Rugby India in partnership with the Bengal Rugby Union (BRU) conducted the ‘Get Into Rugby’ programme for the youth in schools and communities in the Tea State villages of West Bengal viz-a-viz Saraswatipur, Anandapur, Kathalguri, Chengmari, Aso Bari, Patti Bari and Dam Dim. The week-long activities conducted in the remote villages of West Bengal by Rugby India Development Officers along with BRU coaches managed to take the sport to over 5000 kids. The ‘Get into Rugby’ programme is a World Rugby initiative to promote and grow the sport globally.
Pic Courtesy :Amlan Biswas