A narrow, broken lane takes you to the plush D-16 villa at Chattarpur Farms in south-west Delhi. As the gates creak open, the sound of a well-fought game not often played in India grips you. It’s rugby. Over 20 youngsters are involved in a gruelling practice session.
How did they turn to the game? The answer lies with the 15 odd expatriates who are watching them. It was they who introduced rugby, very popular in their own countries, to the boys.
Welcome to the world of the Delhi Lions club. Here, language, country and age are no barrier as the team prepares for the nationals later this month.
The expatriates, along with club president Jhunjhun Bhasin, even help fund the team. “Practising with the boys is very special for us,” says Alex Clarin from Grenoble, France. “The sport is dead in India, but we’re trying to motivate these boys. How difficult it is to even find a ground for rugby here.”
Clarin feels the expats’ support has helped the boys — most from nearby villages — find a direction. Another expat and former national-level rugby player, Russell Brown from Johannesburg, wants to pass on every tip he has to the boys.
“Earlier, boys would come and go, but now they stick with the team,” says Kiwi Victor Wells.