Kolkata, Sep 13 (UNI) Straight out of the backwaters of Orissa, 12 young boys are ready to scrum with the participants from across the world in the under-14 Nations Cup Rugby meet at Esher, England from September 27-29.
The rugby fiesta, involving 10 teams from across the world, will coincide with the Rugby World Cup in France and the players from Orissa, entirely drawn from the tribal belt, will also get a chance to soak in the rugby fever that is almost certain to grab Great Britain by its collar.
British Deputy High Commissioner to Kolkata Simon Wilson, while teeing off the boys said, ''I think the organisers here have put up a brilliant team and I am sure these boys will make India proud.
This will be a wonderful learning experience for them and I hope they will make full use of it. Not only they can improve on their game from this exposure but also develop their all-round personality with free interaction with various other cultures and traditions.'' The team will be flying off for England on September 23 and will stay at the Cams Hill School during the duration of their stay. Cams Hill is a non-selective state co-educational school in Hampshire.
The team will play under the banner of Jungle Crows, a Kolkata side formed in 2004.
Paul Walsh, one of the founder members of Jungle Crows, said, ''We had received an invitation from 'Tour Aid' to participate in this ten-nation meet.'' ''Since our arrival in 2004, we have improved from strength to strength and conducted various programmes to popularise rugby in every corner of India. We then decided to pick these players from the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) in Bhubaneshwar,'' he said.
KISS provides boarding school education to 4,000 tribal students in the region. Jungle Crows had conducted a training programme at KISS in early 2006 and since then the school has developed a very intense rugby culture and has one of the best junior teams in the country.
The Indian side has been placed in Group 2 and will play their first match against Zambian side Kitwe Minors. The Minors side has students from the Kitwe copper mining area in North Zambia. The other three teams in the group are Ingwe (Swaziland), Maasai Cheetahs (Kenya) and RC Ariesul Spartans (Romania).
Group 1 has Kambujabutra (Cambodia), Langa Lions (South Africa), Ciorescu School (Moldova), Mountain Gorillas (Rwanda) and Snow Leopards (Kazakhstan).
Coach Sailen Tudu expressed confidence, ''We have trained together for over four months. All the boys are from the tribal area and have the right physical attributes to succeed in body contact sports like rugby. The teams from Africa will be athletic but not necessarily physically strong and big bodied, but teams like Romania and Kazakhstan can throw in big-bodied players. That will cause plenty of problems for our boys. But it's an international tournament and we have to cope with all these problems.'' Squad: Raj Kishore Murmu (captain), Babula Melaka, Hadidhangada Majhi, Bikash Chandra Murmu, Chhitaranjan Murmu, Niranjan Biswal, Barial Beshra, Bukai Hansdah, Sahadev Majhi, Narsingh Kerai, Ganesh Hembram, Gouranga Jamuda.
Rudrakesh Jena (Teacher), James Matthew (Manager) and Sailen Tudu, Sanjay Patra (Coach).