Graphic badge with the title 'top scorer' in bold, stylized font, featuring the default kit.
The image seems to be a low-resolution or blurred grayscale logo, likely related to football, but specific details are indiscernible.

Rugby in India: The Elephants’ Stride Towards Rugby Growth

African elephant walking in a grassy savanna.

Crash, tackle, pass – the thrill of rugby is catching on across India. Did you know that Indian sporting clubs are now opening their arms to the dynamic sport of rugby? Our journey through this blog will whisk you away into the rich history, growing popularity, and inspirational stories wrapped in the rise of rugby in India.

Ready for a ruck? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Rugby in India has roots dating back to both pre – colonial games and British colonial influence, which introduced the structured version of rugby we know today.
  • Tournaments such as the Calcutta Cup and events like the 2010 Commonwealth Games have been pivotal in increasing rugby’s popularity and participation levels across India.
  • The Indian Rugby Football Union is actively developing men’s and women’s national teams, aiming for India to become a significant player on the global rugby scene.
  • Rugby provides transformative opportunities for Indian youth, with programs like Get Into Rugby nurturing young talent and creating success stories within the sport.
  • Future growth plans include expanding rugby in schools and communities, enhancing local clubs and leagues, and focusing on youth development to establish a sustainable framework for rugby in India.

History of Rugby in India

Rugby has a long history in India, dating back to the pre-colonial era when traditional Indian sports laid the foundation for modern rugby. The sport was further introduced and promoted by British influence during their colonial rule, leading to the growth of rugby in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Pre-colonial era

Long before the British brought with them the rules and traditions of rugby, games akin to it were played in India. Local tribes had their own versions involving a ball, strength, and strategy.

These indigenous sports laid a foundation for what was to come. They fostered an appreciation for athletic prowess and competition that would later prove vital for rugby’s acceptance.

By blending Indian cultural elements into sport, there emerged a unique form of play quite similar to modern-day rugby. Although details remain scarce about these early forms of the game, they undoubtedly set the stage for the more structured version introduced by the British during colonial times.

This homegrown enthusiasm for team sports paved the way for a smooth transition as rugby began its march across India’s diverse landscape.

British influence and introduction of rugby in India

The British influence played a pivotal role in the introduction of rugby in India. Rugby was first introduced to the Indian subcontinent during British colonial rule, primarily as a sport for the military and the ruling class.

The game quickly gained popularity among the locals and spread to various parts of the country, taking root especially in regions with strong British presence such as Calcutta and Bombay.

As a result, rugby became an integral part of India’s sporting landscape and continues to thrive today.

Growth of rugby in the 20th and 21st centuries

Rugby in India has seen significant growth throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. From its origins as an elitist sport in England, Scotland, and Ireland to becoming a popular choice for middle- and working-class men in the north of India, rugby has rapidly expanded its reach.

The sport’s popularity is on the rise, with more individuals getting involved in rugby activities across the country. Rugby India’s ambitious goal is to become a major player in the global rugby community, showing that there are promising strides towards achieving this vision.

The Get Into Rugby program has played a pivotal role in introducing more people to the sport and driving its expansion. Moreover, since becoming an Olympic sport, rugby is now being taken more seriously within India, indicating a positive trend for its future development.

Important Tournaments and Events in India

The Calcutta Cup, All India and South Asia Rugby Tournament, and the 2010 Commonwealth Games have played a crucial role in the development and promotion of rugby in India. These events have not only showcased the sport but also provided significant opportunities for Indian players to compete at an international level.

Calcutta Cup

The Calcutta Cup is one of the oldest and most prestigious rugby union competitions in the world, played annually between England and Scotland. This historic tournament dates back to 1879 and holds a significant place in the hearts of rugby fans.

The competition symbolizes fierce rivalry, intense passion, and unwavering determination on the field. It has witnessed some thrilling encounters over the years, showcasing exceptional skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship from both sides.

As Rugby India aims to grow its presence in international rugby, drawing inspiration from renowned tournaments like the Calcutta Cup can fuel aspirations for Indian players and fans alike.

All India and South Asia Rugby Tournament

The All India and South Asia Rugby Tournament is a significant event for rugby enthusiasts in the region. It serves as a platform for teams from across India and South Asia to showcase their talent, skills, and sportsmanship.

The tournament not only fosters healthy competition but also helps in fostering camaraderie among players from different backgrounds. As an important fixture on the rugby calendar, this tournament attracts attention both locally and internationally, bringing with it an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the growing popularity of rugby in India and South Asia.

Rugby fans eagerly anticipate this event each year as it provides a stage for emerging talents to make their mark on the game. With its potential to unite communities through sport, the All India and South Asia Rugby Tournament plays a vital role in driving interest and participation in rugby across the subcontinent.

2010 Commonwealth Games

In 2010, the Commonwealth Games in Delhi showcased rugby as one of the sports on display. This event helped to raise awareness and interest in rugby across India. It provided an opportunity for Indian athletes to compete on a global stage, further fueling the growth of the sport within the country.

Rugby fans eagerly awaited and celebrated India’s participation in the 2010 Commonwealth Games as it marked a significant milestone in the development and recognition of rugby within India.

The exposure from this international event played a key role in promoting the sport and inspiring many young athletes to pursue rugby as a career path or simply as an active hobby.

National Teams in India

The development of the men’s and women’s national rugby teams in India has showcased promising successes and achievements, highlighting the potential for future growth and expansion.

To find out more about the impact of rugby on Indian youth and the exciting plans for future growth, continue reading our blog!

Men’s and women’s national teams

Rugby India has been actively promoting the development of both men’s and women’s national teams. The national squads have showcased their potential on various international platforms, earning recognition and making significant strides in the sport.

As a result, rugby is gaining popularity among both male and female athletes in India. The Indian Rugby Football Union is dedicated to providing opportunities for players to thrive and represent their country at a global level.

The Indian Rugby Football Union has set ambitious goals for the growth of both men’s and women’s rugby teams, aiming to establish a strong presence within the global rugby community.

Successes and achievements

  1. Rugby India, established in 1998, has significantly contributed to the growth of the sport by organising national and international tournaments.
  2. The Indian men’s and women’s national teams have made their mark in international competitions, showcasing the country’s potential on the global stage.
  3. The Get Into Rugby programme has been instrumental in introducing rugby to a wider audience, resulting in increased participation and interest across the nation.
  4. The sport’s inclusion in the 2010 Commonwealth Games helped raise its profile and attract more enthusiasts to the game.
  5. With efforts from World Rugby and local governing bodies, there has been a surge in grassroots development, leading to a broader base of talented players across different regions of India.
  6. Rugby is making significant strides in Indian schools, providing opportunities for young athletes to pursue the sport at an early age and develop their skills.

Impact of Rugby on Indian Youth

Rugby has provided Indian youth with transformative opportunities, creating stories of success and empowerment, paving the way for a promising future in the sport. To learn more about the growth of rugby in India and its impact on the younger generation, read on.

Stories of young rugby players

Young rugby players across India are rising to the challenge and making a significant impact on the sport. Their dedication and passion for rugby have not only elevated their skills but also inspired many others to join the game.

With numerous success stories emerging from different regions of India, these young athletes are proving that rugby has the potential to change lives and create new opportunities in sports for Indian youth.

The Get Into Rugby programme has played a crucial role in nurturing these budding talents, providing them with essential training, support, and exposure at an early age. As more young players embrace the sport, they are not only excelling on the field but also contributing towards building a strong foundation for rugby’s future growth in India.

Transformation and opportunities through rugby

Rugby in India is bringing about a transformation among the Indian youth, providing them with opportunities to excel in sports and build promising futures. The Get Into Rugby program has been instrumental in introducing more people to the sport, while rugby clubs across the country are embracing the game and nurturing young talents.

As a result, there is a growing interest and engagement in rugby within India, contributing to the overall development of athletics in the country. Furthermore, Rugby India’s ambitious goal is driving efforts to become a major global player within the rugby community.

The positive impact of rugby on Indian youth is evident through their inspiring stories and achievements, highlighting how this sport has changed lives by providing pathways for personal growth and success.

With increasing participation at grassroots levels and support from governing bodies like World Rugby, India’s progress in rugby demonstrates its potential for further expansion on both national and international stages.

Plans for future growth

Rugby India aims to broaden the sport’s reach by expanding its presence in Indian schools and communities. The organisation plans to introduce rugby development programmes in more regions across the country, focusing on youth outreach and community engagement.

Additionally, Rugby India is committed to nurturing talent at a grassroots level through structured training initiatives, with a focus on identifying and developing promising young athletes who can contribute to the growth of the sport.

Furthermore, there are extensive plans for the expansion of local rugby clubs and leagues to provide more opportunities for both men and women in India to participate in the sport.

Conclusion: The Promising Future of Rugby in India.

The future of rugby in India looks promising as the sport continues to gain momentum. The increasing interest and involvement in the game are propelling its growth. With ambitious goals and dedicated efforts, India is making strides towards becoming a major player in the global rugby community.

As more young players embrace rugby, its impact on Indian youth and sporting culture will continue to expand. The Elephants’ stride towards rugby growth signifies an exciting journey ahead for the sport in India.


1. How is rugby growing in India?

Rugby growth in India is on the rise, with more Indian rugby clubs participating and increased activities promoting the sport, especially amongst schools and community programmes.

2. What does Rugby Union in India do for the game’s development?

The Rugby Union in India organises matches and training sessions to boost rugby potential across the country, fostering sports advancement within Indian athletics.

3. Can you tell me about any support from international organisations for Indian rugby?

Yes, international bodies like World Rugby CEO have recognised rugby development in India and are supporting efforts for further expansion and popularity of the game.

4. Are there many people playing rugby in India?

Absolutely! The number of individuals engaging in rugby activities throughout various regions indicates a steady climb in rugby popularity amongst young athletes.

5. What future plans are there to enhance Rugby’s progress further?

Efforts towards enhancing Rugby progress include expanding community development initiatives, increasing visibility through events, and encouraging greater participation amongst youth via Rugby development programmes at Indian schools.

Related News

Rugby tactics have changed a lot in ten years. Teams now play smarter, using new...
Rugby fans love a good surprise, and the latest global rankings are full of them....
Rugby’s thrilling action comes with a risk of injury, challenging players and fans alike. Smart...
Feeling the rush of fierce rugby showdowns? Rivalries in rugby hold a storied past, painting...
As rugby fans, we’ve all winced at the hard hits and injuries players endure on...
Are you curious about the growth of rugby in emerging nations? The global participation in...
Rugby isn’t just for the boys; women are making big waves too. With over 2.7...
Rugby is tough, not just in the tackles but in the mind too. It demands...
Struggling to keep up on the rugby field? You’re not alone. This blog post packs...