Rugby growing rapidly in the Asian region

Working Class Rugger Roar Rookie

By Working Class Rugger, Working Class Rugger is a Roar Rookie

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    With the all the recent movement arising from within the European continent regarding our great game, we could be excused for not paying enough attention to arguably rugby’s next great frontier.

    Sure, the qualification of Russia for their first Rugby World Cup, the establishment of new Professional Leagues in the Ukraine and the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), and greater emphasis on development efforts in the lesser powers of the likes of the Netherlands (initiation of a nationwide development program including Academies) are all worthy of acknowledgement.

    But we often neglect the great work occurring in Asia.

    A region with over 357,981 registered player’s spread across 4,341 clubs amongst its 33 member Unions is still in many ways Rugby’s ‘undiscovered country’. (Note: I am aware Asia is not one country)

    Rugby has a long history thanks to British colonialism in the region, which in many ways greatly damaged its ability to remain relevant in Asian societies at the end of the Imperial era.

    However, thanks largely to those within the Asian Rugby Football Union and the IRB’s investment, rugby has not only recovered but has began to grow to the point that it is now our game’s fastest growing region.

    Most encouraging of all, while in the years of old, rugby was strictly a game for European colonists, the faces you will see running around with a Gilbert in hand in today’s Asia are the local populous, and most importantly, local youth.

    This growth has become so prolific that rugby has begun to emerge in nations many would not have possibly have considered in era’s gone by.

    This has been most evident in the HSBC sponsored Asian 5 Nations, which apart from its namesake Championship, has several lower divisions ranging from Division 1 through to Division 3A, Band C as well as regional tournaments for developing Unions such as Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan.

    Top this with last year’s inaugural Asian 7s Circuit, featuring tournaments in China, Philippines (this year will be replaced by Beirut), Malaysia, Brunei, Sri Lanka and Iran.

    Rugby’s growth in Asia is undeniable.

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    The Crowd Says (91)

    • Roar Guru

      March 3rd 2010 @ 7:58am
      Rickety Knees said | March 3rd 2010 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      Thanks WCR it is good to get these posts – it goes some way to providing relief for Australian Rugby Myopia – where we view the problems of Australian Rugby as being a reflection of the game worldwide – when nothing could be further from the truth.

    • Roar Guru

      March 3rd 2010 @ 8:00am
      Bay35Pablo said | March 3rd 2010 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      “Rugby’s growth in Asia is undeniable”

      I thought a more appropriate word was “irrepressible”. But then I watched too much Monkey as a kid.

      Sorry, couldn’t help myself ….

      • March 3rd 2010 @ 1:19pm
        Dan said | March 3rd 2010 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

        Monkey would have made a kick arse full back.

        • Roar Guru

          March 3rd 2010 @ 3:49pm
          rugbyfuture said | March 3rd 2010 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

          and pigsy at prop or hooker? or is he too soft for that?

      • March 3rd 2010 @ 4:25pm
        Working Class Rugger said | March 3rd 2010 @ 4:25pm | ! Report


        Mate, I wrote this at 2am in the morning two days ago. I’m just happy my point came across coherently.

      • March 3rd 2010 @ 6:25pm
        sheek said | March 3rd 2010 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

        And when I was a lad, after watching Samurai I would go outside & attempt to replicate their trick of jumping from the ground into the trees.

        Gee, I could barely get a foot off the ground. I thought these guys were superhuman.

        Years later, I finally discovered it was all trick photography….. !

    • March 3rd 2010 @ 8:13am
      Al said | March 3rd 2010 @ 8:13am | ! Report

      357,981 out of 4,050,404,000 people, or 0.0088% of the Asian population really isn’t much to get excited about.

      • March 3rd 2010 @ 9:04am
        Travis said | March 3rd 2010 @ 9:04am | ! Report

        Its a start.

        Vastly superior to the NRL’s penetration . . . anywhere.

        • March 3rd 2010 @ 9:24am
          Brian said | March 3rd 2010 @ 9:24am | ! Report

          Oh Trav why mention Rugby League at all here?

        • March 3rd 2010 @ 9:34am
          Al said | March 3rd 2010 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          Everyone knows that Union is the more popular variant of Rugby, it doesn’t diminish League’s popularity in this country and its growing popularity in Rugby strongholds such as New Zealand and France, growth that eclipses Rugby’s growth in Asia.

          • March 3rd 2010 @ 11:28am
            Sam said | March 3rd 2010 @ 11:28am | ! Report

            Is rugby league growing in NZ? Thought numbers had dropped since 1996? I say who cares, don’t even know why this is relevant, why has it been bought up? Are you contributing anything regarding the topic of the article?

            • Editor

              March 3rd 2010 @ 12:21pm
              Zac Zavos said | March 3rd 2010 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

              A reminder to all that it is not appropriate to open this article into a code war thread – this article is about rugby’s growth only – please leave other sports out of the debate.

              Cheer down any off topic comments please.

              Thanks, Zac
              The Roar

              • March 4th 2010 @ 2:35pm
                Bam Bam said | March 4th 2010 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

                may I just say that you should say that exact same thing to Siva Samoa when he jumps on RL threads, or is that a bit too hard to ask.

      • March 3rd 2010 @ 9:25am
        King of the Gorganites said | March 3rd 2010 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        350K is very impressive. how many palyers does RL or AFL have in Asia?

        350K is more then the rintire RL world wide playing numbers.

      • March 3rd 2010 @ 10:33am
        Sam said | March 3rd 2010 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        You spent time working that out? Lol

        • March 3rd 2010 @ 12:01pm
          King of the Gorganites said | March 3rd 2010 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

          dont need to. its as simple as that. the beauty of rugby is that its played by people beyond the M62 and east of asutralia

    • March 3rd 2010 @ 8:50am
      siva samoa said | March 3rd 2010 @ 8:50am | ! Report

      Inter City Rugby 7s tournament from tomorrow

      Share Print E-mail Comment[ – ] Text [ + ]STAFF WRITER 20:33 HRS IST
      New Delhi, Mar 2 (PTI) 20 teams will vie for top honours in the All India Inter City Rugby 7s tournament to be played at Daulat Ram College here from March 3-4.

      The event will feature teams from different parts of the country including Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi.

      New talent from cities like Trivandrum, Srinagar, Imphal, Sonipat and Ambala will also be seen in action.

      “This is for the first time such an event is taking place in the history of Indian Rugby,” Greg Davey, Rugby Development manager said.

      “The tournament will lead the way for conducting an All India Inter State Mens tournament which would include more than 20 states,” Davey added.

      Earlier this week, city had successfully hosted the All India Inter Club tournament which was won by Army Green Club.

      Indian Rugby Team to visit Fiji, NZ to fine-tune game

      Share Print E-mail Comment[ – ] Text [ + ]STAFF WRITER 19:44 HRS IST
      New Delhi, Mar 2 (PTI) As part of their preparation for Commonwealth Games, the Indian Rugby Team leaves tonight for Fiji and New Zealand to acquire more in-depth knowlege about the game and identify their strength and weakness.

      During their three-week trip, the 23-member contingent will meet the former champions and legends of the game, visit the state-of-the-art gymnasium, world class pitches and fitness professionals and compete in few practice matches against respective national teams.

      “This trip is very important keeping Commonwealth Games in mind. We will be up against some of the best playing teams.

      All know, Fiji and New Zealand are two top Rugby playing nations and to visit them and get hang of their sporting culture is nothing less than a dream come true,” Indian Rugby team captain Naseer Hussain told PTI.

      “It’s an opportunity to learn the nuances of the game from the best in the industry.–NZ-to-fine-tune-game

    • March 3rd 2010 @ 9:11am
      Jay said | March 3rd 2010 @ 9:11am | ! Report

      They will be playing rugby in every street from Manilla to Calcutta.

      They will be kicking Sherrings from Port Moresby to Cape Town.

      They will be throwing steedans from Beirut to Barbados.

    • March 3rd 2010 @ 11:55am
      JohnB said | March 3rd 2010 @ 11:55am | ! Report

      Not sure that league or Australian rules have any relevance in this discussion. Soccer is of course the gorilla in the corner, but WCR is right that rugby is growing in Asia. I don’t think it matters that rugby is unlikely to approach soccer in popularity in most Asian countries – that’s a fact of life and soccer has some big advantages in less developed societies (you can play on any scrap of open ground, all you need is a ball, and there’s less risk of injury). The point is there is this growth, a choice of game is being offered (to some at least – from my own experience I know the growth is limited in at least some places by money and availabiltiy of coaches, not by interest) and some base is being formed. It will be some time before anyone other than Japan will be a world cup finals contender (in men’s anyway), but so what?

      • Roar Guru

        March 3rd 2010 @ 3:54pm
        rugbyfuture said | March 3rd 2010 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

        i dunno, kazhakstan are getting up there. Their team (the nomads) have been doing pretty well for themselves and from what i understand the government is backing rugby pretty hard

        • March 4th 2010 @ 12:52pm
          JohnB said | March 4th 2010 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

          RF – Kazhaks are in the top 5 in ARFU (mens). I think Japan remains much stronger than them, but the Kazhaks have size going for them. The Kazhak women’s team is relatively much stronger – I think it was in the top 3 or 4 in the world a few years back. It may have slipped a bit but still gets direct entry to women’s world cup finals.

          • Roar Guru

            March 4th 2010 @ 1:05pm
            rugbyfuture said | March 4th 2010 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

            japan are still stronger but the nomads are the fastest progressing team around i think.

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