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Asia Rugby Sevens from today

The Asia Rugby Sevens, organised by the Asia Rugby and Indian Rugby Football Union in association with the Tamil Nadu Rugby Football Union, will take place at the Nehru Stadium here on Saturday and Sunday.

Ten men’s and five women’s teams from 12 Asian countries will compete in the tournament. The men’s teams are divided into two pools of five each.

India will first face Nepal in both categories.

At a press briefing on Friday, Steven, coach of the National men’s team, said, “Ours is a tough pool. We’ve had two weeks of practice. We worked on eliminating unforced errors and the core skills — catch, pass and kicks — which is what the sevens version is all about. Philippines will be tough to play against. Our players may not be physically well-built but they are good in terms of skills and speed.” UAE and Syria are the other teams in India’s pool in the men’s category.

Asia Rugby president Koji Tokumasu said that the tournament would be exhilarating. “Asia Rugby is delighted that Rugby India is hosting the event and I am sure that they will put on a great event for all the participating teams and the people of Chennai.

“With some of the best teams in Asia participating in this tournament, I am sure the tournament will be exciting and fun to watch.”

Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia were planning to participate, but withdrew later.

Participating teams: Men: Pool-A: UAE, Philippines, India, Nepal and Syria; Pool-B: Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Indonesia.

Women: Guam, India, South Korea, Nepal and Indonesia.

Indian squad: Men: Vikas Khatri (capt), Nithin Dagar, Gautham Dagar, Prince Khatri, Uday Shankar, Arul Venkatesan, Bala Krishna, Sujay Lama, Shokendar, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Akash Valmiki, Shamsher Singh.

Women: Vabhiz Bharucha (capt), Neha Pardeshi, Priya Bansal, Neha Sinandi, Namita Bhoj, Bhagyalakshmi Barik, Meenarani Hembram, Huppi Majhi, Sanjukta Munda, Rani Sadasivappa, Sapna Chanda.

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