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Asian Games

'We don't want to be one-hit wonders': Indian Rugby 7s coach Ludwiche van Deventer

The 2023 Asian Games will be a major milestone for the Indian women's rugby sevens team. But the head coach is being pragmatic in his ambitions, saying anything better than 7th position will be a success.

We dont want to be one-hit wonders: Indian Rugby 7s coach Ludwiche van Deventer

Ludwiche Van Deventer


Aswathy Santhosh

Updated: 14 Sep 2023 12:05 PM GMT

In the world of rugby, India may not be the first name that comes to mind. However, the journey of the India rugby sevens team from obscurity to the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, has been nothing short of remarkable.

Head Coach Ludwiche Van Deventer, who has been at the helm for the past five years, shared his thoughts on the team's progress.

"It's been a very exciting journey," the coach began, a glint of pride in his eyes.

"Seeing little girls growing into young women and young women turning into ladies in front of my eyes the past five years, and not only their development as individuals, but also coming together as a team and growing as a team. At one point, we competed for survival. Now we are an experienced team that plays Cup finals, on our way to the Asia Games. I think that is just tremendous."

The transformation of these young athletes extends beyond the field.

"One thing that has really come out for me is the fact that they've grown to be very confident, vocal, and verbal," said the head coach.

Rugby, as Deventer emphasized, is a game that shapes character both on and off the field. "These girls are very successful in various aspects of life," he said proudly, referring to their achievements in education and careers.

The team's success can be attributed to how long the same batch of players have been playing together.

"We have managed to develop a pipeline, an organic culture of quality teams, going to high-class tournaments. These teams have been performing under tremendous pressure, and we have gained a lot of experience. We've created a successful under-18 and under-20 programmes too," said Ludwiche van Deventer.

Their journey to the Asian Games represents a significant milestone for Indian rugby.

"Now, half of the team, with an average age of 23, is competing at the Asia Games, which is one of the top-level tournaments in the world."

The India rugby sevens Women's team

The girls are excited about representing the nation in Hangzhou, but the coach is realistic about their goals at the Asian Games.

"For us, a successful outcome will be a very competitive tournament... We are ranked number seven going into this tournament. Anything above a position of seventh, we have bettered ourselves. These ladies will put up a show that will make the country proud", he said.

Sheetal Sharma, who captained the team that finished 4th at the recently held Borneo 7’s in Malaysia, has been named as the leader of a 12-member team, which will begin their campaign against Hong Kong on September 24.

Asked what rugby needs to develop in the country, the head coach emphasized on the importance of developing homegrown coaches. "They are the ones that will work at the grassroots levels and contribute to the growth of the game," he affirmed.

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