23 June 2019
Bhubaneswar: The Indian women's rugby team claimed a historic first-ever international Rugby 15s victory with a 21-19 win over Singapore to finish third in the Asia Women's - Division 1 Rugby XVs Championship, Manila on Saturday, 22 June.
The Asian tournament was being held at Southern Plains Sports Field, Manila, from 19 to 22 June.
Nine female Rugby players from Odisha, Meera Rani Hembram, Sanjukata Munda, Laxmipriya Sahu, Subhalaxmi Barik, Bhagyalaxmi Barik, Sumitra Nayak, Hupi Majhi, Rajani Sabar and Pravati Kisku were part of the 26-member squad selected for the tournament.
In Saturday’s enthralling match against Singapore, India's scrum-half Sumitra Nayak kicked a penalty to claim the narrow victory in the dying minutes. Sweety Kumari continued her fine form in the tournament, scoring two first-half tries to set India on way to victory.
With Singapore knocking on with less than three minutes to go, India eventually ran the ball into touch to spark emotional celebrations from the side as they finished third in the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship Division 1.
Singapore hit back with two tries of its own, but a third from India left the scores at 15-12.
India’s captain Vahbiz Bharucha then opted for a penalty which was successfully converted by Nayak before Annabel Woo Xui Ni scored her second try of the match to give Singapore the lead for the first time.
However with another penalty, Nayak confidently stepped up to kick her second penalty of the day which proved decisive in the win. China won the tournament with a 68-0 victory over hosts Philippines in a one-sided final.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated the National women’s rugby team for scripting history.
Naveen tweeted: “Congratulate @RugbyIndia Women’s team on the historic and the very first #Rugby 15s international win. India has truly arrived in the game and future looks very bright for our girls. Wish them my best.”