Rugby union in Kuwait
The Kuwait Rugby Football Union is the governing body, but is currently under the Arabian Gulf Rugby Football Union (AGRFU). The AGRFU was founded in 1977, and joined the IRB in 1990. By the end of 2010, the AGRFU will be broken up, with new unions to be established in each member country, as announced in January 2009 by the IRB. The first national union to be formed from the AGRFU is expected to be that of the UAE.
Rugby was first brought to the region, by the British military around the mid 20th century. In addition, some Arabian royals and nobles have been sending their sons to English private schools for years, where they have picked up the game.
The sport was reintroduced by Commonwealth ex-patriates working in the oil industry, and unfortunately, they continue to dominate the game. For example, the ARGFU website continues to be in English only.
The sport experienced some expansion in Kuwait during the 1980s, but unfortunately the Gulf War in 1990-91, created many problems, from damage to physical infrastructure, and great hardship to residents. The war caused the deaths of around 1,000 Kuwaiti civilians killed during the Iraqi occupation in addition to 300,000 refugees. Many of Kuwaiti rugby's main supporters, i.e. white expatriates left shortly before or after the conflict.
Kuwait currently has one adult rugby club, The Kuwait Nomads, which was founded in 1946 and is one of the oldest rugby clubs within the Persian Gulf region. Originally named The Kuwait Scorpions, numbers dwindled as many players left the country due to the political situation within the region. The Kuwait Nomads were renamed with a fitting title for the group of players that gradually returned to the club from countries all over the world to play the game they loved. The Kuwait Nomads currently have Men's First XV, Vets and Ladies teams and regularly compete throughout the Persian Gulf region.
The Kuwait Saracens RFC, the only youth rugby club in Kuwait, was established at the end of the 08/09 season after lack of funding and ever-dwindling player numbers in the former youth club threatened the future of youth rugby in Kuwait. The Kuwait Saracens RFC is one of the biggest expatriate organizations in the country with more than 150 members.
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