MP visits India to promote Rugby

Tom Swindell and Mark Pawsey
Tom Swindell and Mark Pawsey

MP Mark Pawsey has visited India to promote the game of rugby.

He was accompanied by keen rugby player Tom Swindell from Pailton.

Mr Pawsey is chairman of the MP’s Rugby team Commons & Lords RFC, who played two games in Delhi and Mumbai, and Tom played for Delhi Hurricanes in the All India Tournament before joining up with the MPs.

Mr Pawsey said: “The game of Rugby is growing fast in India and The Commons & Lords team was keen to assist its development and raise its profile.

“We have had a long standing invitation to play some matches there and it was great to take a team over to play, although the conditions were rather different to those we’re are used to.

“In Delhi we kicked off our game against the Hurricanes at 7am to avoid the heat of the day where temperatures rise to 40 degrees, and in Mumbai in our game against Bombay Gymkhana we played under floodlights in near monsoon conditions.

“We play a modified version of the 15 man game to suit veterans and I am pleased that we came away from Mumbai with a win but were beaten by a skilful younger team in Delhi.”

He added: “As MP for the town where the game began it was great to see it developing fast around the world ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup. There was great interest in our tour and in addition to our matches we held coaching sessions in local schools.

“I know that we will have inspired many young people to take up Rugby and that they will appreciate the values of the game we all know so well.”

Tom said: “I was in India for a month and trained with the Delhi Hurricanes as a player and assistant to an RFU coach in preparation for the IRB All India & South Asia Rugby Tournament which was held in Kolkata. “I also spent time coaching in local schools which was an incredible eye opener as I coached both boys and girls from the poorest to the richest backgrounds.

“I then met up with Mark and the rest of the Lords and Commons rugby team to travel India playing and promoting the sport of rugby and our home town.

“Overall, we can learn a lot from the culture of India. It is an amazing country with some of the most amazing people I have met and I would encourage others to visit, although it isn’t for the faint hearted. “Lastly, we shouldn’t underestimate the Indians’ ability to play rugby to a high standard, as I was blown away at their skill. I am very proud to see how far the sport from our small town has gone.”