Thursday, 8 October 2009

Scots testing waters in India

With the 2010 Commonwealth Games less than a year away, the Scottish rugby team arrived in India for a week-long training camp. The 12-member squad is currently training at the Hindu College grounds until Friday, before it plays three matches against the Indian team on Saturday.

Karen Burnett, team manager, said the pitch had been "quite a pleasant surprise."

"I haven't taken a look at the main tournament venues yet, the dressing rooms are still under construction. But the pitch has been laid out well," she added.

It is evident that Scottish team is taking the games seriously as its the first team to visit India to check the conditions. 71 countries are scheduled to take part in the games next year in October 2010.

Burnett said that the players were coping reasonably well with the heat and the humidity, weather factors in direct contrast to Scotland's cooler conditions. "The boys quite enjoy being away from the cold actually," Burnett said, as the players sweated it out on a sunny morning.

Greg Davey, development manager of the Indian Rugby-Football Union, said, "A lot of work needs to be done at the site to make this top class. There have been some issues with the water sprinklers at the ground," he explained.

Scott Forest, team captain, said, "Good work has been done on the pitch here. But the heat gets to you a bit," he grinned.

Fullback Colin Shaw admitted that India had come as a culture shock. “The food, the people, everything is different from what we are used to,” he said.

Rugby will be played across eight venues during the 2010 Games. The sport is played in three formats - 15-a-side, ten-a-side, and Rugby Sevens, and Davey compared them to the Test, ODIs and Twenty20 formats of cricket.

An official confirmation for rugby as an Olympics sport, which is being awaited by rugby organisations, would provide a benefit for its development. "Maybe that will act as a wake-up call for the authorities," Davey said, trying to sound confident. But his skeptical look said it all.


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