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Asian rugby

Bruce_ma gooshvili

TRF Legend
Jun 22, 2016
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There have been a couple of interesting developments lately and there is more to Asia than Japan (as seen by Korea beating a now possibly RWC bound Chile a few years back).

The first development is the creation of a professional Chinese team (as in indigenous Chinese players rather than ex-pats). There are reports that this side, as well as playing in the Chinese domestic championship (which is mainly ex-pats) is exploring options to be integrated at some level in New Zealand domestic rugby, presumably in return for a bundle of cash.

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The second, more tenuous development is the suggestion that Korea and Hong Kong might be considered for inclusion in an expanded Japanese club scene, but not before 2025.

I'd love to see this following the collapse of Global Rapid Rugby. The SLAR and the incredible development of Chile has shown what is possible for a competently run union if they are able to get even a single professional side in a contest against stronger sides/nations.
"The Sean Penn of Oriental Cinema", Bollywood star Rahul Bose is made president of the Indian union. In fairness to the man he did reportedly play scrum half for India.

Could potentially help raise the profile if nothing else.
The Siberian rugby hotbed of Krasnoyarsk is to host an Asian 7s tournament in August.

https://www.asierugby.com/post/krasno%C ... up-en-2022

I know this will not appeal to all, but I think it is very wise for rugby in the Asian half of Russia to explore what is possible with its Asian neighbours.

It is a shame Siberia hasn't had a warmer reception from Europe (both Tier1 and Tier2), and they should keep trying there. But it does not hurt to explore opportunities and frankly Japan offers a higher level of competition than Tier2 Europe at the moment and the long term commercial opportunities with neighbours such as Japan, China and Korea are pretty sizeable and again may eclipse what is possible in Tier2 Europe.
I don't think the new Korean league is of the standard to really propel Korean rugby so I am mainly posting this for connoisseurs of rugby logos.

These are fairly subdued compared to the Japanese ones, but i like the one in the top right, and not just because it shows a rugby player wearing gloves.

The Asian Rugby Championship reportedly cancelled for the sixth time due to the pandemic. Meaning Korea and Hong Kong haven't had an opportunity to play for about two years. Not ideal preparation given the winner out of HK and Korea is due to have a RWCQ playoff against Tonga around June. Korea also just appointed a new coach this week, so it'll be a baptism of fire for them.

Some stories are worth posting twice. For those who prefer their rugby stories strange (I note no quotations from Leitch though).

But here is some corroboration from a few years ago. Leitch is an interesting fellow.

In this next one the last quotes from Leitch actually make me think I'll be taking down my (imaginery) Pirelli swimsuit calendar and replacing it with a Leitch poster. Rugby needs men and women with integrity and consideration like this! It may be time for me to say goodbye to Tomasso Allan. :O

More tentative details about Qatar. A planned URC tournament during the knock out rounds of the RWC as some kind if pre-season thing. English clubs appear to have declined an invitation. "Everyone seems pretty excited" by the prospect. :p

Rumours of a professional Asian league being planned for 2024 with the possibility of Korean, Chinese and Indian involvement.


Council was briefed on the brand new Asia Rugby Grand League, a clubs franchise-oriented competition planned to see lights during quarter one and two in the year 2024. Eight targeted national federations have been identified and will commence constructive collaboration during the first working group meeting scheduled for Friday 3rd February 2023 in Singapore. The concept will be rolled out on phases running from the year 2024 to 2027.

we will find out more in February
Reports of every man and their dog joining a 10 team pro club competition from 2024 onwards. Including Japan and Korea (who by that time will have a domestic pro league). This Japanese source is usually a fairly reliable as bizarre as the suggestion of a league spanning from UAE to the Phillipines sounds.

I will believe it when the first match is played.
Some Sri Lankan rugby popped up in my YouTube feed and didn't look too shabby.

In another match I saw a beautiful 50/22 and multiple penalties kicked from their own half. Enthusiastic crowds and players clearly spending time in the gym.
Qatar, Turkey and Nepal have just shown up on the World Rugby rankings, joining Laos and Iran - who have been on the rankings since June 2021 but are yet to gain or lose any rankings points.

(Turkey plays in Europe, but the growth is in a clear direction. Also joining in 2021 were Burkina Faso, Algeria and Burundi, and at some point Tahiti was removed)

20 countries were scheduled to play in 2023 ARC tournaments, as far as it seems to be published, only 8 actually played. Here's hoping 2024 has a better turnout.

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