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Rugby in Nepal: The Rhinos’ Rugged Path in Himalayan Rugby

A football with the text "cannon" branded on it, set against a backdrop of mountainous terrain.

Rugby might seem out of place amidst Nepal’s towering peaks, but it’s scoring big dreams here. This sport found its Himalayan home when the Nepal Rugby Association kicked off in 1992.

Our article dives into how rugby is tackling challenges and sprinting towards success in this adventurous nation. Discover the Rhinos’ story!

Key Takeaways

  • The Nepal Rugby Association (NRA) was founded in 1992 and has propelled rugby to new heights, joining Asia Rugby and World Rugby.
  • Despite challenges like limited funding and facilities, the NRA boosts interest through national teams known as the Rhinos and major tournaments such as Kathmandu’s U20 Rugby Boys and Girls competition in August 2023.
  • The Rhinos National Team showcases resilience, with players overcoming diverse backgrounds to compete internationally, including a scheduled match against Bangladesh in June 2022.
  • The Rhinos Rugby Academy is central to nurturing young talent through training programmes that focus on skill development, physical conditioning, strategic awareness, mental resilience, team dynamics and specialised coaching.
  • Nepal’s rugby future aims for increased participation at all levels with aspirations of competing in prestigious tournaments like the Asia Rugby Championship.

Nepal Rugby Association

Founded in 2002, the Nepal Rugby Association has been instrumental in the development of rugby throughout the country. Joining Asia Rugby and World Rugby has opened up new opportunities for growth and recognition on the international stage.

History and development of rugby in Nepal

The Nepal Rugby Association (NRA) laid the groundwork for Himalayan rugby back in 1992, and since then it has been a key player in introducing this dynamic sport to the nation’s athletic scene.

Certified by the National Sports Council, NRA has been pivotal in nurturing talent and organising national teams known as the Rhinos – a nod to Nepal’s wildlife heritage. As part of their commitment to growing the game, they’ve successfully carved out space for rugby amidst more traditional sports within Nepal’s diverse landscape.

Rugby’s footprints have steadily pressed deeper into Nepali soil with each passing year. The country joined Asia Rugby, further solidifying its presence on an international level and opening doors for regular play against neighbouring competitors.

With multiple championships now dotting the calendar, like August 2023’s U20 Rugby Boys and Girls tournament set to grace Kathmandu, players aren’t just chasing balls but also dreams of elevating Nepal on rugby’s vast global pitch.

Joining Asia Rugby and World Rugby

After the development of rugby in Nepal, the Nepal Rugby Association (NRA) took a significant step by joining Asia Rugby and World Rugby. This move has opened up opportunities for the national teams to participate in regional and international competitions, providing exposure and experience vital for their growth.

The affiliation with these governing bodies also allows Nepal to tap into training programs, resources, and expertise to further develop rugby within the country. As a result, it offers an exciting pathway for Nepali players to showcase their skills on a global platform while fostering camaraderie with other nations.

Rhinos National Park

Keratin rhino horn

Challenges and Progress in Growing Rugby in Nepal

Despite limited resources and infrastructure, the Nepal Rugby Association has made significant progress in developing partnerships and increasing participation in rugby across the country.

The achievements and successes in growing rugby in Nepal are a testament to the dedication and hard work of those involved in the sport.

Limited resources and infrastructure

Limited resources and infrastructure create challenges for rugby growth in Nepal. The Nepal Rugby Association, although recognised by the National Sports Council, faces difficulties due to inadequate funding and facilities.

While striving to develop the sport in the Republic, the association encounters obstacles such as lack of proper training grounds and equipment. Moreover, with limited access to coaching expertise, expanding participation becomes a significant hurdle for aspiring rugby players in Nepal.

The Rhinos’ ambitious journey is hindered by constrained resources hindering their advancement on an international stage. Limited infrastructural support further adds complexity to establishing a strong foundation for rugby in Nepal.

Developing partnerships and participation

Limited resources and infrastructure have not stopped the Nepal Rugby Association (NRA) from working tirelessly to bring rugby to new heights in Nepal. Developing partnerships with local communities, schools, and sports organisations has been a key focus for the NRA.

Through these collaborations, they aim to increase participation in rugby across the country. By engaging with various stakeholders, including youth clubs and educational institutions, the association is paving the way for more young talents to join the sport.

With emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility, NRA’s efforts are fostering a thriving rugby community that truly represents Nepal’s diverse landscape.

The partnership development extends beyond national borders as well. Building relationships with other Asian nations allows for exchanges of expertise, training programmes, and friendly matches – all serving to elevate Nepal’s presence within international rugby circles.

Achievements and successes

Developing partnerships and participation has led to several achievements and successes in Nepal’s rugby landscape. Here are some notable accomplishments:

  1. The Nepal Rugby Association (NRA) has successfully established itself as a member of the Asia Rugby family, further solidifying its presence on the international stage.
  2. The national rugby teams of Nepal, known as the Rhinos, have made significant strides in raising awareness and interest in rugby within the country.
  3. The NRA’s efforts in promoting rugby have resulted in the recognition and certification of the association by the National Sports Council, enhancing its credibility and support.
  4. In addition to national recognition, Nepal’s national rugby union team has scheduled matches against other Asian nations such as Bangladesh, showcasing the growing competitiveness and determination of Nepalese players.
  5. The Rhinos’ achievements have contributed to increased participation in rugby at various levels, including college and youth programs, fostering a vibrant and inclusive rugby community.

The Rhinos: Nepal’s National Rugby Team

The Rhinos are Nepal’s national rugby team, known for their resilience and determination in the sport. They have achieved significant milestones and have a roster of talented players with inspiring stories.

History and achievements

The Nepal Rugby Association (NRA) was established in 1992 and gained recognition from the National Sports Council. The national rugby teams of Nepal, known as the Rhinos, have made remarkable progress, becoming part of Asia Rugby and World Rugby.

The NRA has been actively working to promote rugby in Nepal, with the national team scheduled to play against Bangladesh in June 2022 at the Army Stadium in Dhaka. Additionally, Rhino horns are composed of keratin – similar to human hair and nails – reflecting strength and resilience symbolised by this majestic animal.

The Rhinos have managed to carve out their niche in the Himalayan rugby landscape through hard work and dedication. Their journey is a testament to determination and marks an era of growth for Nepalese rugby on both domestic and international platforms.

National team players and their stories

The Rhinos, Nepal’s national rugby team players, exhibit resilience and determination in their pursuit of excellence. Hailing from diverse backgrounds, these athletes have overcome numerous obstacles to represent their country on the international stage.

Their stories inspire young talents across Nepal to pursue their dreams despite limited resources and infrastructure.

Determined to make a mark in the Himalayan Rugby landscape, the Rhinos’ journeys reflect Nepal’s spirit and prowess in the sport. These players are integral in shaping the future of rugby in Nepal by embodying perseverance and commitment.

The Rhinos Rugby Academy

The Rhinos Rugby Academy is a key player in Nepal’s rugby landscape, focused on developing the next generation of rugby talent through training programs and specific focus areas. With an eye on the future, the academy plays a crucial role in shaping the sport’s growth and success in Nepal.

Development and purpose in Nepal’s rugby landscape

The Rhinos Rugby Academy plays a crucial role in the development of rugby in Nepal. With a focus on training programs and skill-building, the academy aims to nurture young talent and create a robust pipeline for the national team.

By providing coaching and resources, it seeks to elevate the standard of play and foster a love for the sport among budding athletes.

Furthermore, the purpose of the academy extends beyond producing elite players; it also serves as a vehicle for social inclusion and community engagement. Its outreach programs aim to introduce rugby to diverse groups across Nepal, promoting teamwork, discipline, and physical fitness while fostering unity among participants from various backgrounds.

Training programs and focus areas

The Rhinos Rugby Academy in Nepal offers various training programmes and focuses on specific areas to develop rugby talent. Here are a few key aspects of their training approach:

  1. Skill Development: The academy emphasises honing fundamental rugby skills such as passing, tackling, and kicking to ensure players have a strong foundation.
  2. Physical Conditioning: Players undergo rigorous fitness training to enhance their strength, speed, and endurance, crucial for excelling in the demanding sport of rugby.
  3. Tactical Awareness: Coaches instil strategic thinking and game awareness in players, enabling them to make quick decisions on the field.
  4. Mental Resilience: The academy places importance on mental resilience training to prepare players for the challenging nature of competitive rugby.
  5. Team Dynamics: Emphasis is placed on fostering teamwork, co-operation, and effective communication among players to enhance overall team performance.
  6. Specialised Coaching: The academy provides specialised coaching in different playing positions to optimise individual player development.
  7. Youth Development: A dedicated focus on nurturing young talent through age-specific development programmes tailored for aspiring young rugby players.

The Future of Rugby in Nepal

The future of rugby in Nepal looks bright as the sport continues to gain momentum. With expansion and development plans in place, the focus is on partnering with other Asian nations and setting ambitious goals for international success.

Expansion and development plans

The Nepal Rugby Association is aiming to expand and develop rugby in the country, with plans to increase participation at all levels. They aim to establish more partnerships with local communities, schools, and organisations to build a robust grassroots foundation for the sport.

Additionally, they intend to focus on infrastructure development by enhancing training facilities and establishing more rugby clubs across the nation. Moreover, the NRA is looking into forging alliances with other Asian nations, as part of their strategic efforts to elevate Nepal’s standing in international rugby competitions.

Furthermore, as part of their expansion plans, the NRA is determined to set ambitious goals for improving coaching standards and player development initiatives within the national team and youth programmes.

The association aims to create opportunities for talented players through enhanced training programmes and scouting initiatives geared towards identifying potential talents from diverse regions of Nepal.

Partnering with other Asian nations

In line with Nepal’s expansion and development plans, the Nepal Rugby Association (NRA) aims to strengthen ties with other Asian nations such as India and Bangladesh. This collaboration will foster opportunities for friendly matches, training camps, and coaching exchanges amidst like-minded rugby communities.

By partnering with these countries, the NRA seeks to elevate the standard of rugby in Nepal through shared knowledge and experiences, ultimately propelling the Rhinos towards international success.

Strategic alliances with neighboring Asian nations are pivotal in nurturing a competitive edge for Nepali rugby. Joint efforts can lead to increased exposure, skill enhancement, and overall growth of the sport within the region.

Goals and aspirations on the international stage

The Nepal Rugby Association has set ambitious goals for the national rugby teams to compete on the international stage. The Rhino’s ultimate aspiration is to qualify and compete in major tournaments such as the Asia Rugby Championship and ultimately, gain recognition on the World Rugby stage.

With a focus on developing young talent through initiatives like the Rhinos Rugby Academy, Nepal aims to build a strong foundation for sustainable success at regional and global levels.

In line with this vision, the NRA is actively seeking partnerships with other Asian nations to enhance its competitive edge. Moreover, participating in prestigious events will not only elevate Nepal’s standing in international rugby but also foster greater interest and participation within the country itself.


In conclusion, the journey of rugby in Nepal has been marked by challenges and triumphs. The Rhinos, Nepal’s national rugby team, has made strides despite limited resources and infrastructure.

With goals for expansion and development on the international stage, Nepal is set to make its mark in the world of rugby. As the Rhinos continue to rise as a force within Asian rugby, their rugged path through the Himalayas promises an exciting future for the sport in Nepal.


1. What makes Rugby unique in Nepal?

Rugby in Nepal is special because it’s played among the stunning landscapes of the Himalayas, where teams like the Rhinos tackle and score against the backdrop of National Parks filled with Asiatic rhinoceros and Bengal tigers.

2. Can you tell me about rugby teams in Nepal?

The Nepali rugby teams, such as The Rhinos, are passionate and dedicated, although they face tough challenges due to rugged terrains and limited resources compared to established teams like the Indian rugby team players.

3. Is Rugby popular among college students in Nepal?

Yes, rugby is gaining popularity among young people in college who show great enthusiasm for learning and playing this challenging sport right under the Himalayas.

4. Who do Nepali rugby teams compete with?

Nepali rugby teams often play against neighbouring countries’ teams including skilled Indian rugby team players, which helps them improve their game on an international level.

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