this is quite a “wow”

October 26th, 2007

Women’s rugby in Iran? You could not be blamed for never having thunk such a thing could be possible, but….

Now, I have to say that I have only ever met one Iranian woman in my life, and that kinda freaked me out. It freaked me out because even though we were in Dunedin, New Zealand, I was in her home looking for her brother who I was supposed to be tutoring in English, completely unaware that he had just been deported, and trying to appropriately field her requests for tutoring. This is the most ridiculous tangent of this most tangential blog, but: I promised her I’d talk to my “boss” and see what I could do, and went back to Otago Polytech and found my “boss” in the ESOL Home Tutoring Service and explained the situation, and….

…back to women’s rugby in Iran:

These women sound tough, I mean, real hard, they could probably kick the All Blacks’ collective arse- well, maybe not on the rugby field, but still… Of course, there are a few problems:

Alireza Iraj, Tehran women’s rugby coach, admitted that the team’s Islamic dress would make it impossible for them to play against sides from Western nations as “the long sleeves and loose clothes gives the opponents an easy chance to grab them.”


“They have to play with Muslim countries who have similar clothes,” he said.


As a man coaching a female team, 37-year-old Iraj knows he has to stay in line with one of Iran’s Islamic rules which states that members of the opposite sex cannot touch each other unless they are married couples or immediate members of a family.


When advising the team on how to tackle, Iraj keeps a decent distance away from the women and then instructs one of the players to demonstrate how to grab an opponent rather than carrying out the move himself.

All of which is most unfortunate. You know what? I’d really love to see an Iran-New Zealand women’s rugby match, Islamic uniforms or not- New Zealand sworn to fair, as in not taking undue advantage of their opponents’ uniforms, play, of course.


Of course, I’d have to actually see the Iranian women in action to judge their actual skill level, but even so, that article has me intrigued- I’d love to see an Iranian women’s rugby team in action. There is something just fundamentally awesome about this.

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