India
Shirt badge/Association crest
UnionRugby India
Head coachNaas Botha[1]
CaptainVikas Khatri
First colours
Second colours
World Rugby ranking
Current86 (as of 3rd July 2023)
First international
 Singapore 85–0 India 
(26 October 1998)
Biggest win
 India 92–0 Pakistan 
(14 June 2008)
Biggest defeat
 Singapore 85–0 India 
(26 October 1998)
World Cup
Appearances0

India national rugby union team is a national team that represents India in the international rugby championships and matches. It is governed by Rugby India organization which is recognised by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of government of India.

It was admitted to the IRB in 2001, but it took three years before India won a match, beating Pakistan 56–3 in the third tier competition of the Asian Biennial tournament.[2]

In 2005, they started their attempt to qualify for the 2007 Rugby World Cup, but a 22–36 loss to Kazakhstan sent them out of the running for that tournament. They also were disappointed with an 8–8 tie in Guam, but still managed to finish second in their group of four teams thanks to beating Malaysia 48–12. However, as only the top team in the group qualified for the next stage, India were out.[3]

History

Main article: Rugby in india

Rugby union in India dates back to a scratch match or two played in Calcutta and Madras during the visit of MS Galatea in 1871. The first recorded match was played on Christmas Day 1872, at CFC in Kolkata, it was played between England and a combined team of Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

The national team was not started until 1998 however when the India national team played Singapore in Singapore, they lost 85–0. The team were then admitted into the International Rugby Board in 2001 and then in 2003 the team undertook its first UK tour. This consisted of playing three sides from the Midlands which all resulted in large defeats, including a staggering 153–0 defeat from a Leicester Tigers XV at Welford Road. They also failed to score a single try during their visit. Despite the sheer lack of success, the head did have some positive words, stating: "It's all a learning process for us. The difference in size and body weight between the two teams was huge, but when we get back to Asia we'll be playing against teams roughly our own size." In 2007 India attempted to qualify for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, Scotland, and Wales. They were placed in Asian Division 3, Pool B for the qualifiers in which India finished second of four teams with 1 win, 1 tie, and 1 loss. As only the first place team moved on to the second qualification round India was officially knocked out of the 2007 World Cup.

In 2008 the India Rugby Union Team attempted to qualify for the Rugby World Cup again. This time though qualification was different as instead of the group stage India had to play in the 2008 Asian Five Nations and win it in order to move on to Round 2 in qualification. India though lost their first match against Thailand and had to settle for 3rd place after a 2nd place match win against Pakistan in which India achieved their biggest ever victory as they beat Pakistan 92–0.[4]

In 2019, South Africa legend and former South Africa national rugby union team player Nass Botha became the head coach of Indian men's and women's national teams. Under his supervision Rugby India held practice sessions, tryouts in different part of the India. As per Botha India have to play at least 10-12 matches per year per season. India have 1.3 billion people, the country can form a competitive national team. 800 schools in the country have rugby 7 teams, these schools also have to make 15 players teams, It will increase talent pool. Even if 50-100 started their 15 player side.[5]

Stadium

Rugby players from Odisha

India does not have its own personal stadium to use. When they play they usually do on local university fields throughout India.

Strip

India have worn dark blue and black for all of their Rugby Union games since 2011 and prior to that, from 1998 to 2010, they used the traditional Indian sports colours of light blue and white. At present, the shirt and socks are dark blue and the shorts are black.

Record

Asia Rugby Championship

India competes annually in the Asia Rugby Championship, which is a rugby union competition held amongst national rugby sides within the Asia Rugby region. India participated in the inaugural 2008 Asian Five Nations (as it was then known) competing in the Second Division, finishing in third place, and missing out on being promoted. During the 2009 Asian Five Nations India again finished in 3rd place in the Second Division but then during the 2010 Asian Five Nations India just lost out on promotion to Division 1 when they were beaten 34–12 by the Philippines in the final game. They then suffered a setback in 2011 Asian Five Nations as they were relegated to Division 3 after losing both their matches in Second Division tournament. In 2012 India were successful in winning the Third Division tournament earning a promotion back to Division 2 the following year. In 2013 they finished fourth in the Second Division tournament, relegating them back to the third division. In 2014 the Division 3 tournament was split into an East and West competition, with four teams in each. India finished in fourth place in the Division 3 West tournament. In 2015 the Division 3 tournament was split into three brackets, East, West and Central, with three teams in each. India competed in the Central tournament, however due to the withdrawal of Pakistan the remaining teams India and Uzbekistan played two matches against each other. As both team scored respective victories India was declared the winner on points difference. In 2016 the Division 3 tournament was split into four competitions, East, Central, West and West-Central. India plays in the South-Central bracket where it is scheduled to compete against Pakistan.[6]

Year Host Champion India Record (W–L) India Finish
1998 Singapore Singapore Singapore Singapore 0–3 6th Place in Division 2
2002 Thailand Thailand Thailand Thailand 0–3 7th Place in Division 2
2004 Hong Kong Hong Kong China China 1–1 3rd Place in Division 3
2007 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Iran Iran 1–1 2nd Place in Division 3
2008 Thailand Thailand Thailand Thailand 1–1 3rd Place in Division 2
2009 Malaysia Malaysia Malaysia Malaysia 1–1 3rd Place in Division 2
2010 India India Philippines Philippines 1–1 2nd Place in Division 2
2011 Thailand Thailand Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 0–2 4th Place in Division 2
2012 Indonesia Indonesia India India 2–0 1st Place in Division 3
2013 Malaysia Malaysia Singapore Singapore 0–2 4th Place in Division 2
2014 Pakistan Pakistan Lebanon Lebanon 1–1 3rd Place in Division 3 West
2015 Uzbekistan Uzbekistan India India 1–1 1st Place in Division 3 Central
2017 Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei Singapore Singapore 0–2 4th Place in Division 2
2018 Thailand Thailand Chinese Taipei Chinese Taipei 0–2 3rd Place in Division 2
2019 Indonesia Indonesia China China 1–1 2nd Place in Division 3 East-South
2022 India India India India 2–0 1st Place in Division 3 South
2023 Qatar Qatar Qatar Qatar 0–2 3rd Place in Division 2

World Cup

India has never played in the Rugby World Cup but they have attempted twice in 2005 and 2008 to qualify for the 2007 Rugby World Cup and 2011 Rugby World Cups respectively.

Year Host Champion India Finish Results
1987 to 2003 Various Various did not participate
2007 (Asian Qualification) Various  Kazakhstan Second in division 3 Pool B Round 1a did not qualify
2011 (Asian Qualification)  Thailand  Thailand Third in first round did not qualify
2015 (Asian Qualification) Various  Thailand Second in division 2 and 3 did not qualify
2019 (Asian Qualification) Various Various did not participate
2023 (Asian Qualification) Various  Hong Kong did not participate

Overall records

The Test match record against all nations, updated to 6 May 2023, is as follows:[7]

Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn Win percentage
Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Arabian Gulf 1 0 1 0 0%
 Bangladesh 1 1 0 0 100%
 China 4 1 3 0 25.0%
 Chinese Taipei 3 0 3 0 0%
 Guam 3 2 0 1 83.3%
 Indonesia 1 1 0 0 100.0%
 Iran 3 0 3 0 0%
 Kazakhstan 4 0 4 0 0%
 Malaysia 4 1 3 0 25%
   Nepal 1 1 0 0 100%
 Pakistan 6 6 0 0 100%
 Philippines 2 1 1 0 50%
 Qatar 1 0 1 0 0%
 Singapore 4 0 4 0 0%
 Sri Lanka 2 0 2 0 0%
 Thailand 7 0 7 0 0%
 Uzbekistan 3 1 2 0 33.3%
Total 50 15 34 1 30.00%

Recent matches

Matches played in the last 12 months.
3 May 2023
19:00
Qatar 32–7 India
[1]
Aspire Warm Track, Qatar

6 May 2023
19:00
India 22–29 Kazakhstan
[2]
Aspire Warm Track, Qatar

Squad

Squad to 2022 Asia Rugby Championship Division 3 South[8]

Player Position Club
Prince Khatri (c) Centre Haryana
Gautam Dagar Delhi
Dhanasekar K Tamil Nadu
Devendra Padir Services
Harjap Singh Punjab
Jitendra Kumar Services
Nitin Dagar Delhi
Shivam Shukla Delhi
Harvinder Singh Punjab
Sukumar Hembrom Scrum-half West Bengal
Prabal Giri Delhi
Suraj Prasad West Bengal
Bharat Delhi
Zosangzuala Services
Mannu Tanwar Delhi
Kamaldeep Delhi
Rajdeep Saha West Bengal
Akash Balmiki Fly-half West Bengal
Sanket Santaji Maharashtra
Suresh Kumar Services
Shridhar Maharashtra
Gaurav Kumar Bihar
Surinder Singh Services
Arpan Chhetri West Bengal
Pankaj Burman West Bengal
Shanawaz Odisha

See also

References

Cited sources

  1. ^ "10–12 international matches is the minimum required for any national team, says Naas Botha". 13 July 2019. Archived from the original on 18 October 2022. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Indiarughby.com". Archived from the original on 21 July 2021. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Asiarugby.com". Archived from the original on 19 July 2021. Retrieved 19 July 2021.
  4. ^ "No politics,only sport as India-Pak meet on another field". Archived from the original on 4 March 2023. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  5. ^ "10–12 international matches is the minimum required for any national team, says Naas Botha". Hindustan Times. 13 July 2019. Archived from the original on 18 October 2022. Retrieved 18 October 2022.
  6. ^ "Thus far hath rugby travelled in India (With: Rugby catching popular imagination, sees slow revival)". Archived from the original on 4 March 2023. Retrieved 4 February 2023.
  7. ^ "Rugby Teams, Scores, Stats, News, Fixtures, Results, Tables – ESPN". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  8. ^ @RugbyIndia (18 November 2022). "26 member India squad for the 2022 Asia Rugby Championship, Division 3 South" (Tweet). Retrieved 18 November 2022 – via Twitter.

Further reading