Indian men`s, women`s Rugby team leave for Malaysia
New Delhi:India`s national Rugby teams -- both men and women -- today left for Indonesia to compete in the Borneo Sevens tournament.
While the men`s team will aim to improve their Asian rankings the women side would try to get on board as they are not ranked yet.
The three-day tournament will begin at Sabah Island from October 29.
The 10-member men`s squad, under captain Nasser Hussain, had finished in bottom half in the 16-team line-up at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games.
They are ranked eighth among Asian nations and are placed 73 among 95 Rugby playing nations internationally and Rugby India vice president Aga Hussain is confident that they will be able to climb up the ladder in Asian region.
The Indian team, seeded eighth in the tournament, will be up against the world`s best rugby playing nations in the two separate outings -- IRB Asian Rugby Sevens Series and 10th invitational club Borneo Sevens.
The men`s competition will see the top 12 teams of Asia competing in four pools of three teams each. After the league games, the tournament will enter the knockout stage.
The Indian team has been grouped in Pool-D alongside fourth seed Malaysia and ninth seed Thailand.
"At the Commonwealth Games, the Indian men`s team faced the best in the world and this experience should hold them in good stead and help them put up a good show in Indonesia," Hussain said.
Pool A comprises of teams from Korea (seed 1), Hong Kong (5), Kazakhastan (12), Pool B -- China (2), Guam (6), Chinese Taipei (11) and Pool C -- Japan (3), Sri Lanka (7),
The 12-member women`s sevens team will compete in the Asia Pacific Women`s Sevens, which comprises of eight teams divided into two groups
The event, for the first time, will have teams from FORU (Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions). FORU teams are Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga.
The Indian team has been accorded fourth billing in the tournament and is placed in Pool B alongside Singapore (2) and two FORU teams.
Pool A includes Kazakhstan (1), Malaysia (3) and two FORU teams.
"Women`s Rugby in India has been growing tremendously of late and there was a lot of competition for making it to the squad. With the Asian Games coming up, where both the men`s and women`s team will be up in action, this tournament will definitely help us," Hussain said.
Sanctioned by the International Rugby Board (IRB) and the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU), Borneo Sevens is being held for the second consecutive year. The tournament will witness around 500 elite rugby players from around the world fighting it out for the top honours.
In the Rugby Sevens calendar, everyone looks forward to this tournament as it is held in the stunning tropical location of Kota Kinabalu at Sabah island.
Men`s team: Nasser Hussain (C), Puneet Krishnamurthy, Amit Lochab, Hrishikesh Pendse, Pritom Roy, Rohaan Sethna, Thimmaiah Madanda, Kayrus Unawala, Kamaldeep Dagar and Dinesh Ravi Kumar. Coach: Usiaia Biumaiwai.
Women`s team: Surabi Date (C), Vahbiz Bharucha, Niharika Bal, Bhagyalaxmi Barik, Tapasi Nandi, Priyanka Mondal, Neha Pardeshi, Annapurna Bhotate, Yogita Marathe, Sheetal Maurya, Sangita Bera and Sutapa Das. Coach: Elenoa Kunatuba.