Cheetahs set to defend All India and South Asia rugby title

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Mumbai, Sep 21 (UNI) Defending champions Chennai Cheetahs will be back to battle it out for top honours in the 74th Vodafone Essar All-India and South Asia Rugby Tournament to be played at the Bombay Gymkhana from September 22 to 29.

The Indian Rugby Football Union (IRFU) President Pramod Khanna in a press conference today informed that Lahore Rugby Football Club of Pakistan will add foreign flavour to this tournament that is being supported by Kappa, the official apparel partner and Kingfisher the official refresher of the IRFU.

Chennai Cheetahs, led by the hugely talented Emil Vartazarian will have to contend with the challenge from Lahore Rugby Football Club as well as last year's runner-up team, the vastly improved Army 'A', in the 13-team tournament that will be played on a knockout basis.

A stiff challenge will also be forthcoming from hosts Bombay Gymkhana, which has been for long one of the pillars of Indian rugby. Kolkata will be represented by the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club (CC&FC), Kolkata Police, La Martiniere Old Boys and Future Hope, while supplementing Chennai Cheetahs will be the Tamil Nadu Police.

Maharashtra State Police will bolster Mumbai's challenge, while the Delhi Lions and Delhi Hurricanes will make their presence felt from the North. A team from Bangalore completes the lineup.

Three matches will be played on the first day, with Kolkata's Future Hope facing Delhi Lions in the opener. Lahore Football Rugby Club then takes on Delhi Hurricanes, while Maharashtra State Police will clash with CC&FC. The semi-finals will be played on September 27, and the final on September 29.

UNI

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