Kazakhstan’s Women’s Rugby Team Wins Int’l Tournament in Dubai

rugbyASTANA – Dynamo Almaty, Kazakhstan’s national women’s rugby team, took first place at the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens Invitational Tournament held from Nov. 28-30 in Dubai.

Dymano Almaty, both Almaty’s club team and the country’s national women’s team, beat South Africa’s SA Select Women 36-12 in the final. Teams from South Africa, the U.A.E, Switzerland, Germany, Kenya, Russia and Sweden competed in the tournament.

Hard work got them the victory, Dynamo’s head coach Dmitry Pichugin told The Astana Times. “It was no luck – the games were tough; all the national teams were playing at the tournament. The U.A.E., Kenya, Germany and Switzerland presented their best line-ups, so the opponents were not easy to beat.” Beat them Almaty’s women did, however, in a series of victories that pitted them against Moscow’s team in the semifinals and then the South African team in the finals.

There were 60,000 spectators watching the final game, Pichugin said. “The girls were more nervous about the pressure of the spectators than the opponent. The stadium was crowded and packed with people.”

“I must say, they are all young and good players,” Pichugin said of his team. There are a few standouts, though. One is Liliya Bazeruk, who has been playing for only six months. Despite being a newcomer to the sport, “she has helped us win in every game,” her coach said. “She took her game to a good level right off the bat; playing in the defence, she scored a lot of points.”

He singled out Yelena Yevdokimova and captain Anna Yakovleva as other players to watch, but emphasised that Dynamo’s wins come from team efforts.Int’l Tournament

Dynamo Almaty is the reigning women’s rugby sevens champion of the Asian Games, a title they will defend in Incheon, South Korea, next year. The team’s most important upcoming tournaments, the coach said, are the Hong Kong Sevens on March 30, 2014, and then the Asian Games from Sept. 14-23. “[The Asian Games] is probably the most important event for us, since as champions we automatically make it to the group,” Pichugin said. “We hope that we will get proper attention from the Sports Agency.”

Pichugin said he hopes their most recent victory will contribute to the push to include rugby sevens in the Olympic Games. Rugby sevens is a variant of rugby union in which teams field seven players instead of 15 and the matches are shorter. It has been played for more than 100 years and is popular around the world.

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