Pune - India will take on Hong Kong in the opening match of the Asian Rugby Sevens Women’s Championship at the Balewadi Sports Complex Athletics Stadium here Saturday with captain Surabhi Date expressing confidence about making India’s participation count this time around.
Ranked 68 in the world, Indian women have steadily been growing in stature after a few international exposure trips but at home things could be different, feels Surabhi.
“Crowd support makes a lot of difference and having done extensive practice over last few weeks I expect a much better show from the team,” said Surabhi on the eve of the Asian Championship that has been designated as 2013 World Cup qualifier.
In all, 21 league matches will be played with top two teams from four pools making it to the quarterfinals.
The 12-member Indian team has seven players from Pune.
Fifteen teams including defending champion China and runners-up Kazakhstan have arrived for the championship. China, Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Chinese Taipei, Japan, UAE, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Fiji, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Iran, and hosts India will be competing over two days.
Top two finishers after the league matches will be playing for Cup/Plate competition, while the bottom two will compete in Bowl/Shield event.
Indian Team: Surabhi Date (Captain), Saloni Prachande, Vahbiz Bharucha, Namita Bhoj, Ketaki Khare, Bhagyalaxmi Barik, Laxmipriya Sahu, Neha Pardeshi, Meera, Tomalika Sarkar, Shruti Marathe and Annapurna Bathate.