Rugby has a future in India, says World Rugby CEO

The world governing body identified the country as having “a big following for the game” as the Webb Ellis Cup was unveiled at the Bombay Gymkhana here.

Actor Siddharth Malhotra (left) and World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper with the Webb Ellis Cup in Mumbai. Photo: Special Arrangement

The silver-gilt Webb Ellis Cup that has been presented to the winner of the Rugby World Cup and won by New Zealand three times, Australia and South Africa twice each and England, once, was unveiled at the Bombay Gymkhana on Wednesday.

India is one of the 18 countries among 120 Rugby Union countries that has been chosen by World Rugby to take the Webb Ellis Cup on a two-year tour. The glittering cup unveiled in New Delhi and Mumbai will have its last India stop at Bhubaneswar.

India ‘a market’ for rugby

World Rugby has identified India among the five countries — the other four being USA, China, Brazil and Germany — that’s likely to witness a big growth of the game in the future. “India has a big following for the game. India, China and USA together constitute 33 per cent of the 800 million followers of the game globally. We see a market for rugby in India,” said Brett Gosper, Chief Executive, World Rugby and Managing Director of Rugby World Cup, before the cup was unveiled for the media.

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Aga Hussain, the former India captain and presently, president, Asia Rugby, said Japan, the first Asian country to host a Rugby World Cup in September 2019, will do a fantastic job of the competition.

India has about 80,000 registered rugby players and according to Nasser Hussain, the former India captain and General Manager, Indian Rugby Union, the game is spread across 24 States.