Women’s rugby in India benefits from ‘try and stop us’ campaign

Try And Stop Us campaign ambassador Stacey Fluhler was Rugby India’s guest of honour. © World Rugby
Try And Stop Us campaign ambassador Stacey Fluhler was Rugby India’s guest of honour. © World Rugby

New Delhi, India, June 9, 2020: One year on from the launch of World Rugby’s “Try And Stop Us” campaign, women’s rugby in India is still feeling the benefits.

Last month, Rugby India hosted an online “live chat” between India’s women’s captain, Vahbiz Bharucha, and New Zealand Black Ferns star Stacey Fluhler – a campaign ambassador.

During the call, which was organised in conjunction with WINS (Women In Sports India), Fluhler was joined by her fellow campaign ambassador, India’s own Sweta Shahi, as she chatted about life in the game.

India has experienced rapid growth in female participation in rugby over the past decade and Shahi’s appearance in the Try And Stop Us campaign has only aided that.

According to Rugby India, female participation in the country is maintained at a minimum of 40 per cent with a target to get to 50 per cent.

To that aim, all tournaments, events and programmes are gender inclusive, while a committee has been formed to oversee the women’s game. There is also a drive to increase female representation at the governance and managerial level.

Such initiatives suggest there is an audience for the women’s game in the country, an assertion which is borne out by the success of the live chat with Fluhler. 

The video, which was posted across Rugby India’s social media channels, reached more than 10,000 people and resulted in over 1,500 engagements. The governing body has subsequently launched an online forum, ‘No Woman, No TRY’, which showcases female talent.

Rugby India President Mahesh Mathai, meanwhile, has been appointed to the Indian Olympic Association’s Women in Sport Committee for 2020-21.

“Women’s rugby in India has really come a long way over the last decade — from humble beginnings and just a handful of players back in 2009 to today when the involvement of women in rugby is over 40 per cent in all aspects of the sport,” Rugby India CEO Nasser Hussain said. 

“The response towards women’s rugby has been overwhelming and this unprecedented growth puts to rest all the stereotypes and stigmas associated with women in India and their involvement in sport, in particular a contact sport.

“Rugby is a sport for all and we, at Rugby India, are firm believers of this and have always advocated gender equality and inclusion in all our initiatives,” Hussain added. 

Source: World Rugby