Rwanda encouraging young women to get involved in rugby sevens

By Alex Dudley

This past weekend saw a new initiative put in place by the Rwanda Rugby Federation (RFF) to get more children involved in rugby sevens.

Their “Get into Rugby” programme remains in its infant stage, but hopes are high that it could take the sport in the country to a new level. The programme is a grassroots project for women that is aimed at encouraging people of all ages to participate in the sport; with the slogan being ‘Try, Play and Stay in Rugby’, while it also promotes the sport and translates all the values that come with it.

Before the competition took place, the aim was clear for Ihirwe Delphine; who is the women representative for the RFF. Speaking to the organisations’ official website, she said: “This competition aims to give the opportunity to increase awareness and the profile of women in rugby in the country.”

There was certainly interest in the one-day tournament, with six teams taking part on the Saturday competition. The project manager for the scheme, Tharcisse Kamanda, said: “We urge many Rwandans, especially the women and girls to come and enjoy the game. Rugby isn’t a game for boys alone, and we call upon schools in the country to make the game apart of their activities.”

It was a successful day for the sport in Rwanda, and the winning team was Lions de fer women. They beat Ruhango Catholic 7-5 in the final at the Ruhango District Buhoro ground.

Speaking to Rwanda Rugby after the win, the team’s captain, Uwase Marie Claire, was clearly enthralled by the sport.

She said: “We are very happy that we managed to win the Genocide Memorial tournament title in its debut appearance. We played well and deserved to win the tournament, and we all had so much fun playing rugby.”

Speaking to the teams afterwards Kamanda was thrilled with the success of the day and plans to make it a stable in the Rwanda rugby calendar are already ongoing.

Main photo: Rwanda Rugby

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