Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy 2023: Indian women win silver, men finish fifth

Nov 5, 2023 | Blog

The Indian women’s rugby team won a silver medal at the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy 2023 while the Indian men finished fifth.

The Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy 2023 for both men and women was held at the Onazia Training Pitch in Doha, Qatar, on November 3 and 4.

In what was a seven-team women’s field, India, captained by the experienced Vahbiz Bharucha, finished top of the Group G standings with a comfortable 14-7 win over Guam before trouncing Mongolia 36-0. In the semi-finals, India routed Iran 34-0 to make the final.

Up against UAE in the final on Saturday, India lost 26-5 to settle for the silver. A gritty Indian women’s rugby team managed to keep UAE in check in the first half and trailed by just two points after a great try by Shikha Yadav. UAE, however, dominated the second half and scored a total of 19 points to win the title.

It was the Indian women’s rugby team’s third successive runners-up finish in the competition.

“Winning the silver again is special, but the team is eager to continue the work that each player has been putting in to convert the colour of this medal to gold,” captain Vahbiz Bharucha said. 

“Personally, I am extremely proud of the way the team has played against formidable sides and it showcased great character at a stage as big as this,” Bharucha added. “This is the most important event of the year for the team and we will come home knowing that we gave it our absolute best.”

Meanwhile, in the 15-team men’s tournament, the Indian rugby team, led by Prince Khatri, breezed past Iraq 47-0 in the group knockouts. Pooled in Group C, India narrowly lost 7-5 to Afghanistan before going down 19-10 to Bahrain. India, however, beat Uzbekistan 24-7 in their final group fixture to finish third in the Pool.

Facing hosts Qatar in the fifth-place playoff, India rode on a last-minute Mohit Khatri try to complete a 19-14 comeback win. This year’s fifth-place finish was an improvement on the ninth place the Indian men’s rugby team managed at the last edition of the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy in 2022.