‘There is not a single rugby specific ground in India’

Sanjay Jadhav
Monday, 7 January 2019

“Currently the Indian women senior rugby team stands fifth in Division 2. We just played our Trophy Cup in October and we secured a fifth position in that tournament. As of now rugby in India is largely working at the grass-root level development, so lot of schools and colleges are engaged in the sport which was not the case a few years ago,” said Bharucha when Sakal Times caught up with her.

Pune: As Japan gets ready to host Asia’s first Rugby World Cup scheduled in September, there is one person in Pune who is all the more excited and looking forward to the event.

Vahbiz Bharucha, the captain of the Indian women’s rugby team along with her teammates are looking forward to the event even though it is the Men’s World Cup, as rugby is slowly climbing up the popularity chart.

Bharucha is hoping that more and more girls get attracted to the game in future.

“Currently the Indian women senior rugby team stands fifth in Division 2. We just played our Trophy Cup in October and we secured a fifth position in that tournament. As of now rugby in India is largely working at the grass-root level development, so lot of schools and colleges are engaged in the sport which was not the case a few years ago,” said Bharucha when Sakal Times caught up with her.

“The exciting part is that for the world front and for India too is that the World Cup is happening in September in Japan. All of us are really geared for this. It will be the first time, that the World Cup is happening in an Asian country so we expect a lot of eyeballs for the same,” Bharucha hoped.

Throwing some light on the sport Bharucha said “When you start playing rugby, it is touch rugby. There is no tackling, there is just a touch. So literally when you get a touch, it is considered a tackle. So this is a very safe approach for long term development of players in the sport. It is not like, they are put on the field and they are asked to ram in to him or her.” 

“So in this format, I think if one is able to understand that any sport there is a pathway. You are put through certain levels of difficulty to challenge yourself and that is how you make it big and that is the same way in rugby.”

When asked about why people are not taking up the game, Bharucha said “People’s awareness is less and hence not much is reported about the sport. It is a vicious circle. According to me, there is an unfortunate mind set with regard to any contact sport be it martial arts, rugby, kabaddi or wrestling. People have this misconception that there are a lot of injuries related to it. Yes an athlete is prone to in injuries in sports but one needs to understand that there is a lot of preparation that happens prior to playing the sport.”

Infrastructure issue
“A rugby field is the same as the football field so we use the football field. But a rugby specific ground is still missing.”

Speaking about the challenges faced with regard to infrastructure, Bharucha said: “There is not a single rugby specific ground here in India. A lot of people are working towards that. It is actually very difficult because maintenance is an issue and not many people are willing to pay for a ground as they do not see a future in it.

Asked whether rugby could be chosen as a career Bharucha said “If you look at the statistics, rugby is the third fastest growing sport in the country and I think now onwards it is going to be an upward ladder for the sport especially for women’s rugby because so many women are realising the need for sports and so many parents are realising the need for their children to be in sports.

“Rugby has proven to be a very good stress releaser and an extremely good way to add focus in a child’s life and environment,” Bharucha added.

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