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Rugby in Kazakhstan: Nomads Navigating the Rugby Steppes

A rugby ball on grassy terrain with mountains in the background at dusk.

Rugby might seem like a western sport, but it’s found an unlikely home on the vast steppes of Kazakhstan. Known as “The Nomads,” Kazakhstan’s national rugby team reflects the country’s spirited heritage and love for tough, physical sports.

This blog post will dive into how rugby is thriving in this central Asian nation, from grassroots beginnings to international tournaments. Discover the world where ancient traditions meet rugby passion.

Key Takeaways

  • Kazakhstan’s national rugby team, known as “The Nomads”, displays the country’s nomadic spirit in international tournaments like the Asian 5 Nations and Rugby World Cup qualifiers.
  • The sport of rugby has grown in Kazakhstan, with deep roots linked to traditional horseback sports such as kokpar, reflecting cultural values of strength and endurance.
  • The Kazakhstan Rugby Union plays a crucial role in promoting rugby across the nation by organising events, nurturing talent, and improving infrastructure for both grassroots and professional levels.
  • Kazakh teams participate on larger world stages beyond Asia; recent successes include impressive performances at Euro Tour 2022 with the Kazakhstan Nomads Sevens squad preparing for upcoming competitions like HSBC Challenger Series 2022 and Algarve Sevens 2022.
  • Traditional Kazakh culture is celebrated within the sport, where dishes like Beshbarmak are enjoyed during rugby gatherings, integrating the essence of communal spirit and heritage into modern sporting events.

The Growth of Rugby in Kazakhstan

Rugby has been steadily growing in Kazakhstan, with the country participating in the Asian 5 Nations and Asian Rugby. The sport’s nomadic origins make it a natural fit for the Kazakh people, and it continues to gain popularity in Central Asia.

Participation in Asian 5 Nations & Asian Rugby

Rugby in Kazakhstan is gaining momentum, with teams stepping up to international challenges. The Asian 5 Nations tournament showcased Kazakh resilience and skills.

  • Kazakhstan’s national team has been a consistent contender in the Asian 5 Nations, which is a premier rugby event for Asian countries.
  • Their participation highlights the progression of Rugby Union as an emerging sport across Central Asia.
  • Engagements in such tournaments allow players to hone their talents against regional powerhouses like Japan and Hong Kong.
  • These matches are essential for elevating the team’s experience and ranking within the global rugby community, where Kazakhstan currently stands at 61st place.
  • Noteworthy performances have bolstered the country’s reputation in Asian Rugby circles, reflecting their dedication to nurturing talent on the steppe.
  • Showcasing agility and teamwork, The Nomads bring traditional Kazakh strengths from ancient sports like kokpar onto the rugby field.
  • The Rugby Union oversees preparations, ensuring that teams are well-equipped for challenges ahead in such high-stakes competitions.
  • With each game played in this prestigious championship, Kazakhstan cements itself further as a significant contributor to Asia’s Rugby scene.

Nomadic Origins of the Sport

The sport of rugby in Kazakhstan has deep roots in the country’s nomadic lifestyle. The ancient game of kokpar, a traditional horseback sport involving goat-grabbing, is closely linked to the nomadic origins of rugby in Kazakhstan.

This rough and physical game reflects the Kazakh people’s historical penchant for activities that showcase strength, endurance, and agility. As an integral part of Central Asian horse games, this heritage has seamlessly transitioned into the modern-day passion for rugby in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan’s rich history and culture have significantly influenced the development of rugby within its borders. With its origins deeply embedded in traditional nomadic practices, it comes as no surprise that rugby has become such an essential aspect of sports culture in Kazakhstan today.

The Kazakhstan National Rugby Team

Known as “The Nomads,” the Kazakhstan National Rugby Team is controlled by the Kazakhstan Rugby Union and has participated in the World Cup. With their strong presence in international rugby, they continue to represent Central Asia on a global scale.

Nicknamed “The Nomads”

The Kazakhstan national rugby team is affectionately known as “The Nomads” and is managed by the Kazakhstan Rugby Union. With a strong presence in the global rugby community, this team proudly represents Central Asia and continues to make its mark on the international stage.

The nickname “The Nomads” reflects the country’s nomadic heritage and embodies their resilient spirit both on and off the pitch.

Controlled by the Kazakhstan Rugby Union, the Nomads have been making waves in international competitions, showcasing their passion for rugby amidst their rich nomadic culture. This dynamic team’s dedication to advancing the sport’s development has secured them a prominent place in global rugby, representing not only their nation but also symbolising unity among nomadic communities worldwide.

Controlled by the Kazakhstan Rugby Union

Affiliated with the Kazakhstan Rugby Union, the national rugby team operates under its governance. The union, committed to fostering rugby in Kazakhstan and ensuring its growth, oversees all aspects of the sport’s development within the country.

From organising competitions to nurturing talent and enhancing infrastructure, the Kazakhstan Rugby Union plays a pivotal role in advancing rugby across the nation.

Under the careful guidance of the federation, rugby has made significant strides in Kazakhstan. With meticulous planning and strategic initiatives, it continues to elevate both professional and grassroots levels of this beloved sport.

Participation in World Cup

  1. In 2002, Kazakhstan made its debut in the Rugby World Cup qualifiers, highlighting the growing presence of rugby in Central Asia.
  2. The team’s participation in the 2019 Rugby World Cup saw them compete fiercely, demonstrating their commitment to advancing rugby in Kazakhstan.
  3. With an eye on future tournaments, Kazakhstan continues to develop its players and invest in infrastructure to enhance its competitiveness on the world stage.

Kazakhstan Nomads Sevens

Proudly representing Asia, the Kazakhstan Nomads Sevens team has seen recent success at the Euro Tour 2022 and will be participating in the upcoming HSBC Challenger Series 2022 and Algarve Sevens 2022.

Proudly Representing Asia

The Kazakhstan Nomads Sevens team proudly represents Asia on the international rugby stage, showcasing their skill and dedication to the sport. With recent success at the Euro Tour 2022 and upcoming participation in the HSBC Challenger Series 2022 and Algarve Sevens 2022, they continue to make a significant impact.

The team’s representation of Asia not only brings pride to their nation but also promotes the growth of rugby in the region, solidifying their position as a force to be reckoned with on the global rugby scene.

Recent Success at Euro Tour 2022

Making a mark on the international rugby stage, the Kazakhstan Nomads Sevens team recently experienced remarkable success at Euro Tour 2022. Displaying their exceptional skills and teamwork, the team showcased their prowess by competing against top European teams and gaining valuable experience at this prestigious event.

Emerging as strong contenders, they demonstrated their commitment to excellence and resilience in the face of formidable competition.

Centred around relentless determination and strategic gameplay, Kazakhstan’s performance at Euro Tour 2022 underscored their growing influence in global sevens rugby. With an unwavering focus on continuous improvement and honing their craft, the squad’s recent achievement serves as a testament to their dedication to elevating Kazakhstan’s presence on the world rugby stage.

Upcoming HSBC Challenger Series 2022

The Kazakhstan Nomads Sevens team is gearing up for the upcoming HSBC Challenger Series 2022, where they will proudly represent Asia on the international rugby stage. As part of their relentless pursuit for success, the team is preparing to showcase their tenacity and skill at this highly anticipated event.

With a strong presence in sevens rugby and recent success at Euro Tour 2022, the Kazakhstan Nomads Sevens are determined to make an impact at the HSBC Challenger Series 2022. As part of their commitment to growth and development, the Kazakhstan Rugby Federation continues to work diligently towards improving player skills and overall sports development, ensuring that rugby maintains its integral role in Kazakhstan’s sporting identity.

In addition to being ranked among top teams globally as of May 2018 by World Rugby, with increasing popularity and significance in the global rugby community, Kazakhstan’s participation in upcoming tournaments such as Algarve Sevens 2022 further solidifies its importance in Central Asian sports culture.

Participation in Algarve Sevens 2022

The Kazakhstan Nomads Sevens team will showcase their skills at the upcoming Algarve Sevens 2022, continuing to proudly represent Asia on the international rugby stage. This event follows their recent success at the Euro Tour 2022 and marks another exciting opportunity for the team to demonstrate their competitive edge in sevens rugby.

As part of their ongoing commitment to growth and development, this tournament presents a valuable platform for the Kazakhstan Nomads Sevens to further establish themselves as formidable contenders in the global sevens circuit.

Boasting a rich sporting heritage and an unwavering dedication to rugby development, Kazakhstan continues its journey towards enhancing the sport’s presence both nationally and internationally.

The Culture of Rugby in Kazakhstan

Rugby has a deep cultural significance in Kazakhstan, especially within the nomadic lifestyle. The traditional dish of Besparmak is often enjoyed as part of rugby gatherings, highlighting the fusion of sport and culture in the country.

Importance in Nomadic Lifestyle

The sport of rugby holds great significance in the nomadic lifestyle of Kazakhstan, reflecting the spirit of resilience and strength intertwined with the country’s rich history. Nomadic traditions emphasise physical prowess, teamwork, and enduring harsh conditions, all of which are encapsulated in the essence of rugby.

The values upheld by nomads align closely with those cherished in rugby – determination, adaptability, and a deep sense of camaraderie that transcends boundaries. As rugby continues to flourish in Kazakhstan’s steppes, it serves as a powerful testament to the enduring ethos rooted within the traditional Kazakh way of life.

Rugby resonates with the longstanding athletic heritage cultivated amidst Central Asian steppes. In this context, it becomes more than just a game; it is a homage to Kazakh nomadic culture and an expression of unwavering passion for sportsmanship on a global stage.

Traditional Dish: Besparmak

Kazakhstan, known for its rich nomadic heritage and diverse culture, offers a traditional dish called Besparmak. This hearty meal consists of boiled meat, usually lamb or beef, served with flat noodles and generously seasoned with salt and pepper.

The dish reflects the country’s culinary traditions rooted in the nomadic lifestyle, emphasising simplicity and nourishment. Besparmak holds cultural significance as it represents the enduring heritage of Kazakhstan’s people and their connection to the vast steppes.

Besparmak is an integral part of Kazakh cuisine, reflecting a deep appreciation for traditional flavours and communal dining. It embodies the spirit of unity and warmth that resonates within Kazakhstan’s nomadic culture.


The future of rugby in Kazakhstan looks promising, with the sport gaining popularity and experiencing growth. The Kazakhstan Nomads Sevens team continues to impress on the international stage, and the country’s unique nomadic heritage adds an exciting dimension to its rugby culture.

The Exciting Future of Rugby in Kazakhstan

The future of rugby in Kazakhstan looks promising, with the sport gaining rapid popularity and continuously growing. The Kazakhstan Rugby Union is dedicated to developing players at all levels, ensuring a bright future for the sport.

As one of Asia’s standout teams, the Kazakhstan Nomads Sevens continue to make strides in international competitions, representing their country with pride and determination. With a rich nomadic history and cultural significance intertwined with the game of rugby, Kazakhstan is poised to become a prominent force in the global rugby community.

As interest in the sport continues to increase within Central Asia and beyond, it’s clear that rugby has found a welcoming home among the diverse ethnic landscape of this vibrant country.

Increasing Popularity & Growth of the Sport

With the sport deeply rooted in Kazakhstan’s culture, rugby is experiencing a surge in popularity and growth within the country. The national team’s success on the international stage has boosted interest among aspiring players while also capturing the attention of sports enthusiasts across Kazakhstan.

As a result, there has been a notable increase in registered players since 2009, showcasing the sport’s growing appeal and its promising future within the country. This rapid growth is also attributed to the efforts of the federation to develop players and promote rugby throughout Kazakhstan, solidifying its position as an integral part of the nation’s sporting identity.

The rise in popularity has not only attracted more participants but has also garnered attention from global fans and organisations alike. With its strong presence in both traditional rugby union and sevens formats, Kazakhstan is becoming increasingly recognised for its contribution to international rugby competitions.


1. Who plays for the Kazakhstan national rugby team?

The Kazakhstan national team consists of skilled players who are part of the country’s diverse and growing interest in sports like rugby.

2. What’s special about the Nomads rugby team?

The Nomads rugby team represents both the spirit of sport development in Kazakhstan and honours their nomadic heritage as they tackle challenges on the rugby fields, navigating through steppes.

3. Can you tell me about sports popular among Kazakhs other than rugby?

Aside from rugby, Kazakhs engage in traditional sports such as kokpar, which is deeply rooted in their nomadic lifestyle within Central Asia’s steppe geography.

4. Does ethnic diversity influence sports in Kazakhstan?

Yes, ethnic diversity certainly enriches sports culture in Kazakhstan, contributing to a unique blend of traditions that influence games and activities including how Rugby is played and developed.

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