Rugby union in Kuwait

Rugby union in Kuwait is a minor but growing sport.

Governing bodyEdit

The Kuwait Rugby Football Union is the governing body, but is currently under the Arabian Gulf Rugby Football Union (AGRFU). The AGRFU was founded in 1977, and joined the IRB in 1990.[1] By the end of 2010, the AGRFU will be broken up, with new unions to be established in each member country, as announced in January 2009 by the IRB. The first national union to be formed from the AGRFU is expected to be that of the UAE.[2]

HistoryEdit

Rugby was first brought to the region, by the British military around the mid 20th century. In addition, some Arabian royals and nobles have been sending their sons to English private schools for years, where they have picked up the game.

The sport was reintroduced by Commonwealth ex-patriates working in the oil industry, and unfortunately, they continue to dominate the game.[1][3] For example, the AGRFU website continues to be in English only.

The sport experienced some expansion in Kuwait during the 1980s with the senior side becoming one of the most successful in the AGRFU and a thriving mini section begun. The club had always played at Ahmadi under the auspices of the Kuwait Oil Company, but due to company policy the ground was closed to the rugby club. This resulted in the members building a new ground in Fintas and changing the club’s name. The club returned to Ahmadi in 1989. Unfortunately the Gulf War in 1990-91, created many problems, from damage to physical infrastructure, and great hardship to residents. The war caused the deaths of around 1,000 Kuwaiti civilians killed during the Iraqi occupation in addition to 300,000 refugees.[4] Many of Kuwaiti rugby's main supporters, i.e. white expatriates left shortly before or after the conflict. During the war Kuwait sent a side of players who had not been in the country when the invasion took place to play in the 1990 Dubai sevens.

Kuwait currently has one adult rugby club, The Kuwait Scorpions, having recently reverted to the original name. The club was founded in 1946 and is one of the oldest rugby clubs within the Persian Gulf region. Original numbers dwindled as many players left the country due to the political situation within the region. The Kuwait Nomads were a fitting title for the group of players that gradually returned to the club from countries all over the world to play the game they loved. The renamed Kuwait Scorpions currently have Men's First XV, Vets and Ladies teams and regularly compete throughout the Persian Gulf region.

The Kuwait Saracens RFC, the only youth rugby club in Kuwait, was established at the end of the 08/09 season after lack of funding and ever-dwindling player numbers in the former youth club threatened the future of youth rugby in Kuwait. The Kuwait Saracens RFC is one of the biggest expatriate organizations in the country with more than 150 members.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1-86200-013-1) p62
  2. ^ "Major boost for West Asia" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 16 January 2009. Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2009.
  3. ^ http://wesclark.com/rrr/islamic_rugby.html "Islam and Rugby" on the Rugby Readers review retrieved 2 July 2009
  4. ^ "The Use of Terror during Iraq's invasion of Kuwait". The Jewish Agency for Israel. Archived from the original on 24 January 2005. Retrieved 9 May 2009.

External linksEdit